Andrew Coombs: Embarrassing defeat puts the heat on Dragons ahead of Zebre trip

CAPTAIN Andrew Coombs has demanded a reaction from Newport Gwent Dragons as they attempt to restore some pride against Zebre in the RaboDirect Pro12.

The Rodney Parade region travel to Parma this weekend on the back of a humiliating 24-8 defeat to Connacht on their own turf.

They now sit ninth in the table after being dismantled up front by the Irish province up, who bagged a bonus point thanks to three driving lineouts and a strong scrum.

Not only does sixth spot – set to be the last qualification berth for the new premier European tournament – look distant but they are in danger of slipping back towards the 11th spot that they occupied in a disastrous 2012/13 campaign.

The manner of the defeat to Connacht led to plenty of criticism and a backhanded compliment from pundit Gwyn Jones on BBC's Scrum V.

"I'm not overly critical about the Dragons because they are an average bunch of players who have on the whole overachieved this season," said the former Cardiff and Wales flanker.

"This was one of the few occasions when they underachieved. It was no lack of effort it is just that they players are not good enough on the whole."

Wales lock Coombs pulled no punches when assessing the Dragons' display against Connacht but believes it's in their own hands to show that they do have quality in their ranks.

And he expects a week of honest toil and total concentration on the training paddock as they bid to strike back.

"Sunday was embarrassing," said Coombs. "First half we weren't good enough, second half we weren't good enough.

"We were way off the mark and need to get much better. The scrum was terrible in the first half and the driving lineout defence was non-existent.

"The boys were pretty honest with each other after the game and everyone put their hands up to their mistakes but it's about a reaction now, not just admitting where you went wrong.

"It all starts on Tuesday morning. We have to regather our thoughts, train well and go from there. It's still tight (in the league) and we have to be positive."

The Dragons will face a swift turnaround from Saturday's clash with Zebre as the rearranged home encounter with Edinburgh taking place five days later.

However, the Scots face an even sterner challenge – they also play in Italy on Saturday against Treviso and will barely have the chance to unpack their suitcases before travelling down to Wales.

Comments (4)

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12:43pm Tue 25 Mar 14

ollie72 says...

To me, the backs looked ok, defence was good out wide. Obviously, up front wasn't brilliant - have people forgotten about route 1 ball out of the scrum when you're losing the scrum battle? I have played in a few packs that have been out scrummaged, and route 1 should clear the ball even if going backwards.

Sidoli's time has gone now - we need a big lump behind the tight head to give him some grunt. Coombs is a good mobile second row, but we need a scrummaging 2nd row to go with him.

The tight head we bring in next year should steady us up fo a season or two, and hopefully part of his contract will be to bring on the young props - would love to see what Way is capable of after some technique training and some hard times at the gym...

Personally, I am really looking forward to a back line with Henson, Brew and Byrne next year - and would be great to see what Tovey could do if the pack could give him an armchair ride.

Come on Dragons - believe!
To me, the backs looked ok, defence was good out wide. Obviously, up front wasn't brilliant - have people forgotten about route 1 ball out of the scrum when you're losing the scrum battle? I have played in a few packs that have been out scrummaged, and route 1 should clear the ball even if going backwards. Sidoli's time has gone now - we need a big lump behind the tight head to give him some grunt. Coombs is a good mobile second row, but we need a scrummaging 2nd row to go with him. The tight head we bring in next year should steady us up fo a season or two, and hopefully part of his contract will be to bring on the young props - would love to see what Way is capable of after some technique training and some hard times at the gym... Personally, I am really looking forward to a back line with Henson, Brew and Byrne next year - and would be great to see what Tovey could do if the pack could give him an armchair ride. Come on Dragons - believe! ollie72
  • Score: 13

1:56pm Tue 25 Mar 14

topdocker says...

Aree ollie. Not totally sure about Henson though. If he can get his head from up his own arse he could be a threat. Hearing many rumours about Adam Jones joining, i wonder!
Aree ollie. Not totally sure about Henson though. If he can get his head from up his own arse he could be a threat. Hearing many rumours about Adam Jones joining, i wonder! topdocker
  • Score: 3

2:42pm Tue 25 Mar 14

ollie72 says...

topdocker wrote:
Aree ollie. Not totally sure about Henson though. If he can get his head from up his own arse he could be a threat. Hearing many rumours about Adam Jones joining, i wonder!
Now that would make me a very happy man!

In the long term we have to look to our regions, and even outside the Premiership - you can't tell me that there are no young players in divisions 1-6 that wouldn't benefit from a summer training camp with the Dragons?

The Risca, Pill Harriers, NHSOB props aren't bad, and I played against a cracking young tight head at Hafod-y-rynys 2 years ago (he had me on toast all game, I'm ashamed to admit...)
[quote][p][bold]topdocker[/bold] wrote: Aree ollie. Not totally sure about Henson though. If he can get his head from up his own arse he could be a threat. Hearing many rumours about Adam Jones joining, i wonder![/p][/quote]Now that would make me a very happy man! In the long term we have to look to our regions, and even outside the Premiership - you can't tell me that there are no young players in divisions 1-6 that wouldn't benefit from a summer training camp with the Dragons? The Risca, Pill Harriers, NHSOB props aren't bad, and I played against a cracking young tight head at Hafod-y-rynys 2 years ago (he had me on toast all game, I'm ashamed to admit...) ollie72
  • Score: 7

9:22am Wed 26 Mar 14

SWBorderer says...

Forget Dan Way, his technique is so hopelessly wrong he should be penalised at virtually every scrum. Of all our young props the only one who could turn out ok would be Price but he needs a good tight head to work with, Bell made a huge impact but Price worked well with him as well. The new scrummaging laws allow the loose head to be far more effective that is why Adam Jones is not dominating anymore. We also need to teach a hooker how to strike for the ball, it would appear that referees are totally ignoring the foot up law so we need to take advantage of that.
Forget Dan Way, his technique is so hopelessly wrong he should be penalised at virtually every scrum. Of all our young props the only one who could turn out ok would be Price but he needs a good tight head to work with, Bell made a huge impact but Price worked well with him as well. The new scrummaging laws allow the loose head to be far more effective that is why Adam Jones is not dominating anymore. We also need to teach a hooker how to strike for the ball, it would appear that referees are totally ignoring the foot up law so we need to take advantage of that. SWBorderer
  • Score: 0

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