Andrew Coombs: Murrayfield mission keeping Dragons grounded
THERE was no time for basking in the glory of a magnificent start to the season for Newport Gwent Dragons last Friday, thoughts quickly turned to Murrayfield.
The Dragons started the Lyn Jones era with a 15-8 RaboDirect Pro12 victory against Ulster at a raucous Rodney Parade.
The region managed just one win against a top-six side last season, a narrow win against Munster in their final home game of the campaign.
The 2013/14 will at least match that tally after they opened up with a success against a side sure to be challenging for silverware.
But captain Andrew Coombs insists victory wasn't toasted long into the night – Friday's encounter in Edinburgh was on the Dragons' minds before they had even got showered and changed.
"What a great win and it meant so much to everyone at the club, but we are not going to get carried away," said the Wales lock.
"Our feet are firmly on the ground and there is plenty to work on. Ulster is done and in the changing room we were already talking about Edinburgh and looking forward to coming back in for training and getting ready to go again.
"There is something special building here but it's going to take time, it's not going to come straight away and we are quickly onto the next job."
That task is against an Edinburgh side that suffered a 34-23 loss to Munster in Cork on Saturday.
If the Dragons are to record back-to-back league wins – something they failed to do last term – they will need to work on a set piece that was under pressure both against Bath in pre-season and against Ulster.
Good honest toil and time on the training paddock is the only solution, according to Coombs.
"We are coming off the training field each day and can see the improvements so if we keep putting the hard work in then we will be a tough side to beat," said the skipper.
"We struggled a bit at the scrum and lineout early on against Ulster but that was down to our own processes – if we had done our jobs right then it wouldn't have been such a problem.
"In the second half we cut out the individual errors that had been killing the team and got the rewards.
"It's our turn to be the improving team in the Pro12 and if we keep working hard then things are going to happen for us.
"Edinburgh are rebuilding this season, just like us, but we head up there with confidence and momentum after beating Ulster."
Coombs' opposite number Johann Muller was full of praise for the tenacious Dragons.
"At the end of the day we got beaten by a side who wanted it more than us," said the former Springboks lock.
"They outsmarted us and they played with a lot of passion. They defended outstandingly and all credit them – they deserved to win that game."
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