Enforced teenage midfield partnership can dazzle for Dragons

POWERFUL: Jack Dixon, pictured against Connacht at Rodney Parade last season, will join forces with fellow teenage centre Tyler Morgan in Galway

EXCITING TALENT: Tyler Morgan will slot in next to fellow teenage centre Jack Dixon against Connacht

First published in Sport by

IT MAY be through necessity but Newport Gwent Dragons will give a glimpse of the future in Galway on Saturday.

Jack Dixon and Tyler Morgan, aged 19 and 18 respectively, will line up together in midfield for only the second time in the Guinness Pro12 opener against Connacht.

The teenagers are the Dragons’ last fit centres after Pat Leach, one of the region’s unsung heroes, injured his right knee in last Friday’s pre-season win against Northampton.

The 29-year-old is expected to be out for six to eight weeks while Ashley Smith (foot) and Ross Wardle (knee) are targeting October and January returns respectively.

It leaves the Dragons with a young but hugely exciting Dixon-Morgan partnership, one that has only previously been fielded against the Ospreys at the Millennium Stadium last April.

The pair of talented Wales Under-20 internationals are tipped to become full internationals and it is a potent combination on paper, Dixon possessing plenty of power while rapid Morgan is elusive with ball in hand.

The latter had been a doubt for the start of the Pro12 after suffering a foot injury at the Junior World Championship but made his comeback against Lydney and then replaced Leach against the Saints.

Inside centre Dixon believes it is a partnership that can go from strength to strength.

“We’ve been training together and played most of the Northampton game,” he said.

“I enjoy playing next to Tyler; he’s a really good player, we are gelling well and I think that we can be a good combination in the future.”

Dixon may be young but the teenager from Newbridge is entering his fourth season of senior rugby and has 33 regional appearances and three Junior World Championship campaigns under his belt.

And the burgeoning pair will also be helped by the presence of Wales internationals Lee Byrne and Aled Brew in the back line following their summer arrivals from Clermont Auvergne and Biarritz.

“It’s nice to have experienced heads around you,” admitted Dixon. “I am learning every week off people like Lee and Aled and I am sure the game goes for Tyler.

“We’ve got a lot to work on and but things seem to be coming along in training and after putting the hours in on fitness and in the gym in pre-season we’re all looking forward to getting going.

“After the win against Northampton the boys are buzzing but we know that it will be a tough challenge against Connacht.”

Comments (8)

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8:37pm Tue 2 Sep 14

CliveAC says...

Good wishes, remember sombody must emulate this guy, sometime...
"Edwards won his first international cap for Wales on 1 April 1967 at the age of 19 against France in Paris". - from Wiki.
Good wishes, remember sombody must emulate this guy, sometime... "Edwards won his first international cap for Wales on 1 April 1967 at the age of 19 against France in Paris". - from Wiki. CliveAC
  • Score: 2

9:11pm Tue 2 Sep 14

corpardguy says...

Put Aled at 13, leave Tyler on the wing would be my choice. I think Aled is ready to move inside as he is such a powerful and aggressive runner.
However I am sure mr. Jones will do the right thing for the team and the players
Good luck guys, Connaught is a rapidly improving side and are not the 'soft touch' they once were. A good win here will go a long way to cement the team ethos.
Put Aled at 13, leave Tyler on the wing would be my choice. I think Aled is ready to move inside as he is such a powerful and aggressive runner. However I am sure mr. Jones will do the right thing for the team and the players Good luck guys, Connaught is a rapidly improving side and are not the 'soft touch' they once were. A good win here will go a long way to cement the team ethos. corpardguy
  • Score: 3

9:49pm Tue 2 Sep 14

foxy3rd says...

Connacht away are a real test for anyone and will really show where we're at.Having watched Keith Jarret a lot in the later 60's I wouldn't worry about this pair.Tyler Morgan very similar.
Connacht away are a real test for anyone and will really show where we're at.Having watched Keith Jarret a lot in the later 60's I wouldn't worry about this pair.Tyler Morgan very similar. foxy3rd
  • Score: 3

8:35pm Wed 3 Sep 14

corpardguy says...

Jarrett was 19 when he scored 18pts for Wales against England including a super try. Not saying Tyler or Dixon are another K J, yet... but why not ?
And Mr. Dixon certainty has the physical characteristics required to go far in this game.
I feel quite sorry for Connacht ......... not really, Go Dragons!
Jarrett was 19 when he scored 18pts for Wales against England including a super try. Not saying Tyler or Dixon are another K J, yet... but why not ? And Mr. Dixon certainty has the physical characteristics required to go far in this game. I feel quite sorry for Connacht ......... not really, Go Dragons! corpardguy
  • Score: 2

10:32pm Wed 3 Sep 14

silurix says...

The Dragons have never had a good away record , even when they had a reasonably good squad. They have consistently underperformed at Connacht in particular. I think NGD do have a stronger squad this season and expect and hope that they will give us more to cheer about but IMO a losing bonus point at Connacht won't be a bad result. I'm not expecting miracles, though if these youngsters perform ( they will be targeted ) I might reconsider. It's going to be an interesting season.
The Dragons have never had a good away record , even when they had a reasonably good squad. They have consistently underperformed at Connacht in particular. I think NGD do have a stronger squad this season and expect and hope that they will give us more to cheer about but IMO a losing bonus point at Connacht won't be a bad result. I'm not expecting miracles, though if these youngsters perform ( they will be targeted ) I might reconsider. It's going to be an interesting season. silurix
  • Score: -1

11:03pm Wed 3 Sep 14

Risca1 says...

For all the talk nothing less than a win would be a good result.
For all the talk nothing less than a win would be a good result. Risca1
  • Score: 0

12:33am Thu 4 Sep 14

Euwan Usami says...

silurix wrote:
The Dragons have never had a good away record , even when they had a reasonably good squad. They have consistently underperformed at Connacht in particular. I think NGD do have a stronger squad this season and expect and hope that they will give us more to cheer about but IMO a losing bonus point at Connacht won't be a bad result. I'm not expecting miracles, though if these youngsters perform ( they will be targeted ) I might reconsider. It's going to be an interesting season.
The trip out certainly doesn't help. Flight to Shannon airport then a couple of hours on a coach to the ground before playing 80 minutes v a very committed side. Surely one night in a hotel won't break the bank?

I know Connaught have signed Mils Muliaina but we have such an improved pack now I think we start favourites.

It's also a must win for LJ and Co surely. Win this then we should have a good attendance when we play a weakened Ospreys at RP. Who would Love to them get a good pasting too!
[quote][p][bold]silurix[/bold] wrote: The Dragons have never had a good away record , even when they had a reasonably good squad. They have consistently underperformed at Connacht in particular. I think NGD do have a stronger squad this season and expect and hope that they will give us more to cheer about but IMO a losing bonus point at Connacht won't be a bad result. I'm not expecting miracles, though if these youngsters perform ( they will be targeted ) I might reconsider. It's going to be an interesting season.[/p][/quote]The trip out certainly doesn't help. Flight to Shannon airport then a couple of hours on a coach to the ground before playing 80 minutes v a very committed side. Surely one night in a hotel won't break the bank? I know Connaught have signed Mils Muliaina but we have such an improved pack now I think we start favourites. It's also a must win for LJ and Co surely. Win this then we should have a good attendance when we play a weakened Ospreys at RP. Who would Love to them get a good pasting too! Euwan Usami
  • Score: 2

8:27am Thu 4 Sep 14

silurix says...

Euwan Usami wrote:
silurix wrote:
The Dragons have never had a good away record , even when they had a reasonably good squad. They have consistently underperformed at Connacht in particular. I think NGD do have a stronger squad this season and expect and hope that they will give us more to cheer about but IMO a losing bonus point at Connacht won't be a bad result. I'm not expecting miracles, though if these youngsters perform ( they will be targeted ) I might reconsider. It's going to be an interesting season.
The trip out certainly doesn't help. Flight to Shannon airport then a couple of hours on a coach to the ground before playing 80 minutes v a very committed side. Surely one night in a hotel won't break the bank?

I know Connaught have signed Mils Muliaina but we have such an improved pack now I think we start favourites.

It's also a must win for LJ and Co surely. Win this then we should have a good attendance when we play a weakened Ospreys at RP. Who would Love to them get a good pasting too!
I don't disagree with any of that Euwan - its just that in the past the Dragons have also started out as favourites and still managed to underperform at Connacht. If the Jones boys can change that then we can be reasonably confident that better times are ahead. A win at Connacht could set the tone for the whole season. Fingers crossed.
[quote][p][bold]Euwan Usami[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]silurix[/bold] wrote: The Dragons have never had a good away record , even when they had a reasonably good squad. They have consistently underperformed at Connacht in particular. I think NGD do have a stronger squad this season and expect and hope that they will give us more to cheer about but IMO a losing bonus point at Connacht won't be a bad result. I'm not expecting miracles, though if these youngsters perform ( they will be targeted ) I might reconsider. It's going to be an interesting season.[/p][/quote]The trip out certainly doesn't help. Flight to Shannon airport then a couple of hours on a coach to the ground before playing 80 minutes v a very committed side. Surely one night in a hotel won't break the bank? I know Connaught have signed Mils Muliaina but we have such an improved pack now I think we start favourites. It's also a must win for LJ and Co surely. Win this then we should have a good attendance when we play a weakened Ospreys at RP. Who would Love to them get a good pasting too![/p][/quote]I don't disagree with any of that Euwan - its just that in the past the Dragons have also started out as favourites and still managed to underperform at Connacht. If the Jones boys can change that then we can be reasonably confident that better times are ahead. A win at Connacht could set the tone for the whole season. Fingers crossed. silurix
  • Score: 2
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