9:02am Tuesday 13th May 2014
By Chris Kirwan
TAULUPE Faletau admits that Newport Gwent Dragons' burgeoning backs have put the pack under pressure to fire next season.
The Rodney Parade region have consistently been on the back foot this season because of their tight five troubles.
Director of rugby Lyn Jones has recognised the need to have more grunt up front next term and has signed up props Boris Stankovich, Dave Young and Lloyd Fairbrother, locks Ian Gough and Ligtoring Landman and hooker Rhys Buckley.
Number eight Faletau appreciates the need to have at least parity up front in order to give a chance to their talented three-quarters.
Wales internationals Hallam Amos, Tom Prydie, Lee Byrne and Aled Brew will be fighting for spots in the back three while teenage centres Jack Dixon and Tyler Morgan are players of huge potential, the latter winning man of the match against Treviso last weekend after scoring a stunning try in a superb display.
"There is a lot of promise in that back line and hopefully the pack can supply them with the ball they need," said the Wales and Lions star.
"Tyler was superb against Treviso," continued Faletau after the 20-19 win against the Italians. "Some of the stuff he does... I was taken aback. He is a great athlete and will only get better and better."
The Dragons finished ninth in the RaboDirect Pro12, an improvement on 2012/13's dismal 11th and they also won more games, bagged more points, scored more tries and conceded fewer.
But there is frustration that their shocking form in 2014 (two wins from eleven games) saw them slip from contention for a place in the premier European tournament and condemned them to being Wales' worst region for the eighth time in 11 seasons.
"It was good to finish with a win at home but it has been an up and down season," said Faletau. "We made a good start but faded off and struggled to get back on track.
"We need to try and be more consistent next season but I think that things have been set up nicely by Lyn and Kingsley (Jones, assistant coach).
"There is plenty for us to work on and a lot of improvements to make, which the boys are more than capable of doing."
© Copyright 2001-2015 Newsquest Media Group