6:01am Tuesday 1st October 2013
TRAINING time is tight for Newport Gwent Dragons this week but the region will devote plenty of attention to shoring up their struggling set piece for Friday's visit of Zebre.
The Rodney Parade region were downed 23-9 by Munster in the RaboDirect Pro12 on Saturday, failing to notch a league point for the first time this season.
The defeat was largely down to a wobbling lineout and under-pressure scrum where the absence of experienced hooker Rhys Thomas, who is out for three months with a fractured ankle, was felt hard.
With a six-day turnaround before Zebre head to Newport fine tuning rather than a major overhaul is on the cards.
"The scrums were a bit of a lottery in Munster while the lineouts went wrong at key times, there's a lot of work to do," admitted forwards coach Kingsley Jones.
"The improvement won't come overnight and it's no secret that we concentrated on the breakdown and defence in July and August.
"The players are developing good habits in those parts of the game and now we need to devote a lot more time and attention on the other aspects that let us down in Munster.
"We haven't got a lot of training this week ahead of Zebre but we will be working hard and there is no need to rip anything up because we have had a reasonable start to the season.
"And despite having some problems against Munster nobody threw the towel in and the spirit of the team was fantastic."
The Dragons are pretty pleased with the start they have made and Friday's opponents will also be pretty content.
Zebre, who did not win a game last season, sit 10th in the Pro12 courtesy of their shock win at Cardiff Blues while they pushed leaders Glasgow hard last weekend to earn a losing bonus point.
"Zebre are a much improved side and they are playing without fear," said Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones.
"(Former All Black) Brendon Leonard is instilling a lot of confidence in them from scrum-half and they are just going out there and having a crack.
"We will need to be on top of our game in the first 20 minutes to take control."
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