NEWPORT Gwent Dragons skipper Lee Byrne wants to take his side to new heights in this season's Guinness Pro12, writes Sacha Clayton.

A ninth-place finish last season meant the Dragons were the lowest ranked of the Welsh regions but confidence is high after a busy summer of recruitment.

First up for is a trip to Galway to face Connacht and Byrne, who has arrived from Clermont Auvergne, is confident that a solid pre-season has put his new side in perfect position to get out of the blocks quickly.

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And the Welsh veteran thinks the club's young stars have the ability to take the league by storm and help his side make steady progress up the table.

"Our preparation and training has been spot on and everyone has been getting on with things," he said. "I want to take this region to heights that we've never been before and I think that's possible.

"I think it's time we change things in terms of the pecking order in Wales. I'm sure with the youngsters we have this year I'm positive that we are going to show everyone what we are capable of doing.

"I've seen these boys training and they are the future of Welsh rugby. We've got people like Tyler Morgan who I think has got something about him and I think he's going to go far so we are in good shape."

The Dragons have enjoyed pre-season victories against Bristol, Lydney and English champions Northampton to head over to Ireland in fine spirits.

"The squad is starting to come together now and the games I've got under my belt I've really enjoyed," he said.

"The things that we worked on in pre-season are really starting to show now but we've got some real tests ahead.

"We've got a younger squad now and there are fewer familiar faces around the league than when I left.

"That keeps me on my toes and I'm chasing those young boys around whereas before I might have been leading. But it's good for me and it's a fresh start and I've really enjoyed it so far."