8:02am Friday 27th September 2013
FRANCISCO Chaparro has been backed to let his rugby do the talking as the Argentine prop continues to make himself at home at Newport Gwent Dragons.
The Pumas tighthead started for the first time against the Scarlets last weekend and played a key role in the 23-16 RaboDirect Pro12 win.
He grafted away in the tight and produced a delightful offload to set up fellow prop Phil Price for the opening try.
The 24-year-old summer signing from Stade Francais, who has been capped twice by Argentina, has been introduced slowly by the Dragons.
That is partly down to the language barrier that made it tough for him to settle amid new scrummaging laws that have caused more seasoned front rowers to struggle.
"At first he found it a bit hard listening to other players because of his broken English," said hooker Hugh Gustafson.
"He could ask questions but the technical aspects, angles and body positions, were difficult to get across. He needed things describing but is slowly picking it up and it getting better.
"Francisco is using some slang words and even some Welsh, coming out with 'Croeso i Casnewydd'!
"But he is another player that suits the environment – he is no-nonsense, works hard, wants to scrum and even showed a fancy offload against the Scarlets.
"Francisco is only 24 and has massive potential. He has knuckled down and will only get better with time."
Gustafson came off the bench in the opening exchanges of the win against the Scarlets when Rhys Thomas suffered a fractured left ankle, a blow that will sideline him for up to three months.
He not only replaced the former Wales international as the hooker but as the senior figure of the front row despite being just 26.
The Dragons may lack experience up front but Gustafson doesn't believe that will be a barrier to success against Munster at Cork's Musgrave Park tomorrow evening (kick-off 6.45pm), a venue where the Dragons have never won.
"I believe we can do something out in Munster and if we all do as a team then we can get a victory," he said.
"That would be a massive statement, if you go out to Munster thinking that you are going to lose then you will. Possibly last year we would have gone there looking to avoid a thumping or to just put in a good performance."
The Dragons name their team at midday. Go to southwalesargus.co.uk/sport for the line-ups.
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