9:02am Monday 14th October 2013
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons will have no fears about throwing teenage hooker Elliot Dee into a crunch European clash if Sam Parry is ruled out of Saturday's trip to Bath, writes Chris Kirwan.
The Dragons head to the Rec on the back of a routine 50-8 Amlin Challenge Cup win against Italian minnows Mogliano at Rodney Parade.
Dee, 19, made his debut in the victory after coming off the bench on 25 minutes when Parry was forced from the field with concussion.
The 21-year-old will be monitored by medical staff this week but it is possible he will be sidelined along with former Wales international Rhys Thomas, who is targetting the festive derbies with Cardiff Blues after suffering an ankle injury last month.
That would leave the Dragons down to their last two hookers in Wales Under-20s starlet Dee and Hugh Gustafson.
But the performance of the highly-rated teenage debutant from Newbridge means there is no panic among the management team at Rodney Parade.
"I thought that Elliot did really well," said head coach Darren Edwards. "Mogliano were physical but his body height and leg drive was superb.
"Elliot was excellent and it's good that he is out on the pitch learning. We are confident in his ability – there is no doubt that he has a future as a professional rugby player, it's just a case of how far he goes."
The Dragons are hopeful that captain Andrew Coombs and influential centre Jack Dixon will feature against Bath after missing the Mogliano encounter with ankle and foot injuries respectively.
They have been joined in the treatment room by openside flanker Nic Cudd who suffered a recurrence of the shoulder injury that he suffered against Edinburgh in the second week of the season.
But the win against Mogliano means the Dragons head over the Severn Bridge in fine fettle to face a Bath side who also got their campaign off to a winning start with a hard-earned 15-6 win in Bordeaux.
"In terms of maximum points and getting guys game time it was job done against Mogliano," said Edwards. "Some individual performances were really pleasing and the guys are playing for their shirts.
"Playing against the unknown throws up questions, we answered some with good bouts of play but in other areas we were disappointed.
"We should have scored more points, there were a lot more chances than you get in RaboDirect Pro12 games and we need to convert them in the really tough matches."
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group