Dragons young guns to reap the rewards of new training HQ

(9190832)

(9190832)

First published in Sport by

NEWPORT Gwent Dragons' academy talent now enjoy plush, state-of-the-art training facilities – but their boss wants them to retain their edge.

The region's young guns share Caerphilly County Borough Centre for Sporting Excellence in Ystrad Mynach with Lyn Jones' seniors.

With a 3G pitch, well-stocked gym and analysis suites, the Dragons young guns have never had it so good.

"The move has been brilliant for us," said James Chapron, the former Pontypool head coach who is performance manager at the Welsh Rugby Union-funded academy.

"We've been nomadic and Gwent is not blessed in terms of facilities in that we could never get weights, analysis and rugby all done on the same site.

"Now the under-19s are in three times a week, four hours at a time. They do their weights downstairs in the gym, come up for analysis and one-to-ones then go straight out on the field.

"It's a performance programme as opposed to something that's a little bit better than a club programme.

"And it's a great advantage that the seniors are also based here, Lyn can walk out of his office on to a balcony and watch them train.

"It's easier for the academy players to understand where they are going and it is aspirational."

The surroundings are all well and good but they don't guarantee success.

When Wales Under-20s were turned over by Fiji at the 2011 Junior World Championship they were given a stinging rebuke by coach Richard Webster.

"They are elite trainers, they are elite at taking supplements, they are elite at looking at videos and looking at computers," said the former flanker.

"They aren't elite under pressure and knowing what their bodies can do and what pain is about."

The Dragons intend to ensure the next generation stay grounded.

"We don't want them to have too much, too soon," said Chapron. "The players that have come through in the past have come through in spite of the facilities.

"We want to keep that sort of edge that the players have had as opposed to having everything on a plate.

"It's important that they realise how lucky they are. This is the first group that will come through without an excuse; if we want to do goal kicking we can just go out there and do goal kicking, if we want to do throwing then we can do that without having to go to Pontypool Park, Bedwas or wherever."

More this week with Chapron on building on the region's strong showing with Wales Under-20s and about the value of having a quartet of Premiership sides.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree