Ryan: Gulf in power was decisive


Dean Ryan admitted a gulf in power had proven the decisive factor as Dragons suffered a 51-3 defeat to Cell C Sharks in the United Rugby Championship at Hollywoodbets Kings Park.

The Director of Dragons Rugby had acknowledged going into the Round 15 fiture that his side would face a stern examination from a fully loaded and dangerous Sharks side in Durban.

And his words rang true as Sharks produced a huge power game to wrap up a bonus point win.

“Over the last two weeks we’ve had an education on power,” said Ryan.

“The basics of the game are based around power and at the moment there is a gulf between ourselves and South African opposition.

“Outside of the yellow cards, we did well to stay on script because we were losing scrum, collision and when that happens you can’t get pressure in the opposition half.

“The last ten days there has been no a lack of effort, no lack of detail around what we are trying to achieve, but we can’t hold a scrum and that can march us up a field.

“Ultimately, the fatigue levels are enormous, and the error rate is then enormous come the last 20 minutes.”

Despite the final score line, Dragons showed defensive resolve for long periods, with players standing up to a fierce challenge in hot and humid conditions.

“I know there is a conflict when people think we have been hammered, but we are working so hard in a situation where we are under so much pressure,” said Ryan.

“Harrison Keddie and Jack Dixon were unbelievable again. Ben Fry is a lad who hasn’t played many URC games and he was up against that sort of quality.

“Will (Rowlands) came into that space and added to it, but there is still a gulf. We can’t hide from that.

“We are getting a good insight into the power at the top end of the game, both at province level and I am sure Wales will find out in June at international level.

“The pressure was everywhere today. At scrum, at midfield collision, at breakdown,” he added.

“We put some good defensive sets together, we were quite smart when we had chances to try and get on them. Our lineout was good quality too.

“But we cannot hold any pressure when, from the first scrum, we are marched 50 metres up the field from our own ball.”

Reflecting on the two-game South Africa tour, Ryan added: “I’m not unhappy with performances. I don’t have a magic wand and all I can ask is that players are at the best of their ability. I think we have been.

“We’ve come together strongly over this two-week period and levels of our performance have been good – but there is a gulf.

“You can’t play little trick plays that hide power. I’m not going to pretend that I have something that can solve that.

“There is a gulf between us and the top of the URC and that is a question that I have to answer within the region, with the resources we have got, and Wales have to answer in June.”

The basics of the game are based around power and at the moment there is a gulf between ourselves and South African opposition...
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