FLANKER James Benjamin has a simple brief in the Celtic Cup – help the Dragons' young guns thrive, writes Chris Kirwan.

The 25-year-old was one of the older heads in the side when the Rodney Parade region beat Munster A impressively in Newport last weekend.

They ran in six tries in the 36-10 success and played a brand of enterprising and exciting rugby, but the platform was provided by Benjamin and his fellow senior forwards.

Along with captain Ben Roach and Huw Taylor in the back row plus locks Joe Davies and Max Williams, the pack got on top against the Irish province and enabled the Dragons' lively three-quarters to catch the eye.

"I look around the squad, see the boys in training, and know there is real quality throughout," said Benjamin.

"The academy here constantly produces great players my job is to go out there and give them a platform to show those skills and showcase what they are all about."

"The philosophy in this competition is to play and play for space. The coaches have told us if we see space to attack it and express ourselves," he continued.

"It was coast to coast at times and the youngsters here love that. The players have enjoyed that style and we certainly have enough ability in the Celtic Cup squad to hurt any team."

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The campaign continues against Cardiff Blues A at the Arms Park on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm) with the hosts calling on plenty of experience with former Dragon Jason Tovey plus four Wales internationals on the bench.

It will be another chance for Benjamin to impress new boss Dean Ryan after a successful return to action against Munster.

The Wales Sevens international had been out of action since February after suffering a neck injury in the Guinness PRO14 defeat to Benetton in Treviso.

"The body was a bit sore after the game but it has been a long time coming just to get out on the pitch," he said.

"I was very excited to get back out there and it was a perfect game to come back to and really test the lungs and legs.

"I had a text earlier in the week to say that I was playing – and 80 minutes certainly tested me out!

"The neck injury was a weird one. I lost some strength in my arm as a result of it so it took some time to recover.

"It took me six months and that can be really frustrating, but I am back now doing what I love most so it is all behind me.

"Last year I was playing centre against Munster in the Celtic Cup, but as long as I'm on the field then I'm happy and that is all that matters."