TIGHTHEAD David Young believes a season in the brutal, attritional English Championship will help him play his part in fostering a scrummaging culture at Newport Gwent Dragons, writes Chris Kirwan.
The 29-year-old former Leicester, Gloucester and Edinburgh prop has arrived at Rodney Parade from Jersey.
The Channel Islanders had avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth but Young reaped the rewards of tough battles against big packs in an uncompromising league that offers no respite.
"Last year was really good for me at Jersey," said the former Scotland Under-21s international. "The Championship is a tough league for scrummaging.
"Even though we had a scrap at the bottom we were well respected for having a good set piece, which was credit to forwards coach Steve Boden.
"I pride myself on the set piece and Lyn and Kingsley (Jones, director of rugby and head coach) want to establish a culture of the Dragons having a good scrum.
"That's why they've brought players like (loosehead) Boris Stankovich on board and there has certainly been a big emphasis on the scrum in pre-season.
"That is important and will filter down from the older guys like Boris right down to the academy.
"I realised the importance of the set piece from a young age when I was at Leicester, playing alongside the likes of Boris and the former Wales hooker Mefin Davies.
"But I want to improve other facets of my game as well and Lyn has a reputation in the game for helping players to develop."
Young is back to full fitness after undergoing an ankle operation in March and made his first Dragons appearance off the bench in the final stages of last weekend's win against Bristol.
Tomorrow's encounter against Lydney may not have the glamour of the friendlies against the big-spending Championship outfit or English champions Northampton but Young say the approach remains the same.
He said: "It doesn't really matter what the opposition is in pre-season, you have to go into games with the right attitude and the drive to perform.
"This is a big game, it's important that I make an impression and us senior guys will have to help the younger ones.
"We have a big squad here and there won't be too many opportunities so you have to take them with both hands when they come along."