8:02am Tuesday 22nd October 2013
IT is approaching three years since Newport Gwent Dragons won a Welsh derby away from Rodney Parade, writes Chris Kirwan.
They return to the scene of that October 30, 2010 success on Friday when they take on the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium in the RaboDirect Pro12 (kick-off 7.05pm).
The Dragons have suffered eight derby defeats on the spin since that Toby Faletau-inspired triumph but travel sickness is not just a problem against the Ospreys, Scarlets and Cardiff Blues.
Last season they won just one RaboDirect Pro12 game away from Newport – against the hapless Zebre – and they took six points from a possible 55.
This season they have produced the goods at Rodney Parade to win four from four but they struggle once they get on a bus or plane.
They lost with the last kick to a poor Edinburgh side, underperformed against an ordinary Munster and fell away in the second half versus Bath in the Amlin Challenge Cup last Saturday.
"There's a monkey on our back and we have always found it difficult on the road," admitted in-form flanker Lewis Evans.
"Maybe it's a mindset issue and that's something that Kingsley and Lyn (Jones, coaches) are trying to change since arriving in the summer.
"At Bath we even had a rowdy group of fans so it's frustrating that we couldn't reward them for their great support.
"We need to have the belief that we can beat sides away from Rodney Parade and we just have to keep plugging away.
"Our overall game is going well, we are moving forward and progressing. We just need everyone to buy into what we are doing here and then we will really start to turn some heads."
The Bath defeat leaves the Dragons with an uphill battle to qualify for the quarter-finals.
The English outfit took the spoils 26-10 thanks to their power game and are in control of Pool Two, leaving the region needing to double Bordeaux Begles in December to stay in the hunt.
"At 10-10 we were really in it at half-time and we had executed our game plan," said Evans.
"We knew that Bath have a solid set piece – they have for about 100 years – and we knew what to expect, that's the most frustrating thing.
"We switched off and they hurt us. We lacked a bit of composure, we lost our way and errors crept in, which you can't afford when you go away from home.
"It puts the pressure on us ahead of Bordeaux and we were really frustrated to not come away with at least a bonus point."
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