11:12am Thursday 13th February 2014
By Andrew Penman
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons head coach Darren Edwards says the postponement of last week’s home clash with Edinburgh has been a boost for his players going into tomorrow night’s big test in Leinster.
The Dragons’ return to Rabo Direct Pro 12 action was delayed by five days after last Sunday’s visit of Edinburgh to Rodney Parade fell victim to a waterlogged pitch.
And Edwards insists that was a positive outcome as far as preparations go for the trip to face current Pro 12 champions Leinster at the Royal Dublin Society (kick-off 7.45pm).
“We were very under-prepared going into Edinburgh because of the weather conditions but now we’ve had a good training week so we’re better prepared and fresh,” said Edwards.
“It’s good to have a break sometimes. This league is pretty relentless for Welsh teams and we didn’t get a break whereas the Irish teams had a few weeks off.”
And Edwards says there is still plenty to play for the Gwent region between now and the end of the season, particularly with a resolution in sight for European competition next year.
“We’ve got that game in hand now on the Scarlets and if we’d have won last weekend we would have been standing second in the ranking of the Welsh regions,” he said.
“And if we manage to do that this season that would be a magnificent achievement.
“There would be a little mini-battle between the Welsh regions in the league and that would be exciting.”
With a trip to Belfast to play Ulster and a home clash with Glasgow still to come this month Edwards added: “We are just concentrating on getting as many league points as possible and improving on what we achieved last season.
“We want to finish as high as possible and these matches over the next three weeks are really key to that.”
But Edwards knows that title-chasing Leinster will be tough opponents even without their Irish Six Nations stars.
“Leinster are a very well organised team, doing well in Europe and the league, and they really try to peak at this time of year,” he said.
“They are ready for this; the Irish teams prepare for this time of year, more so than the Welsh because our squad depth is not as great as theirs.
“They spend a lot of money on having a wider squad but we look at it as a positive.
“At this time of year many young players have come through and the depth of our squad is gradually getting stronger because more people are getting game time.”
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