Young Dragons out to impress
TEENAGE centre Jack Dixon hopes his distribution will be tested as well as his ability to cling onto the ball in Newport Gwent Dragons’ LV= Cup clash with London Welsh.
The region head into Sunday’s game at the Kassam Stadium on the back of a morale-boosting win against the Ospreys last weekend.
The victory was needed after five defeats on the spin but the Dragons had to win ugly in howling wind and torrential rain.
That meant that the young guns in a back line with an average age of 21 got precious little opportunity to dazzle.
But centre Dixon, who has been excused from Wales Under-20s duty against Ireland tonight so that he can feature for his region, did catch the eye by carrying hard and consistently getting over the gain line.
The 18-year-old hopes that he will be able to display his passing in Oxford on Sunday with the Dragons aiming to play with more width.
“The conditions weren’t the best but it was just nice to get the start at inside centre, play the full 80 minutes and get the win,” said Dixon.
“It was tough out there and it was tricky enough just to hold onto the ball but I enjoyed it.
“I was quite happy with my performance and it was good experience, just like Sunday will be.
“We are looking to play a bit more expansively if the weather holds out so that we can express ourselves.”
Their ability to do that will rely on the pack producing the goods and number eight Ieuan Jones, another Wales Under-20s player excused from duty, will be at the forefront of the challenge.
The back row forward has impressed in recent weeks and wants to press his case for inclusion in next Friday’s RaboDirect Pro12 clash against Treviso.
“I am enjoying getting chances and I just want to keep taking them when they come,” said the 19-year-old.
“The best way to impress is to play my part in getting another win and as a squad we are confident after beating the Ospreys.
“The conditions meant it was tough to put in a good performance but we stuck in there and worked hard.
“We’ll need to do the same again because all Aviva Premiership sides are strong and it’s going to be a great test for us forwards.”
The Dragons are without scrum-half Jonathan Evans but his ankle injury will not keep him out of next week’s game with Treviso.
Darren Waters will make his first start of the season after recovering from the knee ligament injury he suffered in pre-season while loosehead Nathan Williams is covering tighthead.
Dragons squad: H Amos, D Evans, T Prydie, M Pewtner, W Harries, A Smith, J Dixon, P Leach, S Jones, W Evans, R Downes, O Evans, P Price, S Parry, H Gustafson, D Way, N Williams, I Nimmo, A Jones, J Tyler, N Cudd, D Waters, L Evans, I Jones, J Groves.