Euro race over but Dragons motivated by Blues battle

Free Press Series: Euro race over but Dragons motivated by Blues battle Euro race over but Dragons motivated by Blues battle

THE SCARLETS may be out of reach but Newport Gwent Dragons need a victory tomorrow evening to prevent Cardiff Blues snapping at their heels in the race to avoid being Wales' worst.

The region welcome Edinburgh to Rodney Parade in the RaboDirect Pro12 (kick-off 6.30pm) and a win would see them climb to seventh in the table.

They would still be at least six points behind the Scarlets and the west Walians' relatively easy run-in makes them hot favourites to secure the final spot in next season's premier European competition.

Nonetheless Lyn Jones' men still have plenty to play for and are attempting to avoid the ignominy of being the bottom Welsh region for the eighth time in 11 seasons.

The tenth-placed Cardiff Blues are currently Wales' worst but their shock win against title hopefuls Ulster last weekend has kept them on the Dragons' coattails.

They are two points back but the Rodney Parade region, who finished one from bottom last season, have a game in hand and need to make it count against Edinburgh.

"In all honesty Scarlets are too far ahead of us," admitted scrum-half Richie Rees. "We've just got to look after ourselves and keep building.

"If you look at the league there is the top six and the bottom six all fighting it out. We've only got five games to go; we are looking for every point we can get and we'd love to finish above the Blues."

The Dragons are attempting to end a three-game streak without victory after suffering drubbings at the hands of Ulster and Connacht and scrambling a late draw at Zebre on Saturday.

Jones declared himself happy with the way that his charges performed in Parma but Rees wasn't content with a share of the spoils.

"We've had a tough couple of weeks and it was a slight improvement from Connacht but we are better than that," he said.

"However much Zebre have improved we should still be putting them away with the talent that we have in the squad. It was a slight improvement but still not good enough."

Rees locks horns with one of his former sides tomorrow and after scoring a try in the 16-13 defeat at Murrayfield in September hopes he can console his former teammates after the final whistle at Rodney Parade.

"You always look forward to playing your old sides," said Rees. "Edinburgh have got a new coaching team and they have brought in a lot of new faces.

"Their side is a different to when I was there and they are a bit more structured this year but still with the big ball carriers like David Denton and Ross Ford."

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