Dragons captain Evans impressed by young gun Ieuan
DRAGONS v TREVISO (Tomorrow, KO 7.30)
THE BOOTS of Wales ace Toby Faletau are big ones to fill but Newport Gwent Dragons rising star Ieuan Jones is having a damn good go.
The Wales Under-20s number eight has been flung in at the deep end over the last month but has responded with some tremendous performances.
He was exceptional in the narrow Amlin Challenge Cup loss in Bayonne and led the charge in the LV= Cup wins against the Ospreys and London Welsh.
Jones is set to be at the heart of the back row in tomorrow’s RaboDirect Pro12 clash with Treviso at Rodney Parade.
And it is testament to his recent exploits that there is no concern about the prospect of putting a 19-year-old into the fray against the Italians.
“Ieuan has been terrific recently,” said Dragons captain Lewis Evans. “Nothing fazes him.
“He’s got a never-die attitude and has been really good for us, he’s taken his chances when they’ve come.
“Ieuan isn’t shy at all and would be the first one up to (forwards coach) Rob Appleyard asking why he has not got picked.
“He is a character off the pitch and on it he is resilient and is not scared of anything – he’d run one-on-one with anybody you put him up against. He has certainly got confidence and that instills it in a few other people in the team. Having that sort of person with no fear is good for everyone else.”
The Dragons were left with a problem when Tom Brown, who had enjoyed a superb first half of the season, injured his ankle in Connacht on January 5.
With Faletau away on Six Nations duty, the Rodney Parade region turned to Jones, who has been released from Under-20s duty to feature for his region.
He has taken the step up in his stride and skipper Evans is delighted to have the exuberant youngster next to him in the back row.
“I suppose he is a type of leader in that he just gets things done on the field,” said Evans. “He relies on other people to help him out in terms of putting him in the right position and directing him in certain ways but he just wants the ball and will carry into a brick wall if you ask him to.
“He would be the first to admit that he is still learning and when Toby comes back he will be learning from the best number eight in Wales.”