Head Coach Dai Flanagan has praised the manner with which Dragons have tackled a ‘tough block’ of fixtures – but has insisted the hard work has only just begun.
The Men of Gwent complete a ten-game block that stretches back to late November when they face Glasgow Warriors on home soil this Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm).
The team have travelled to South Africa for a three-game tour and also faced a number of short turnarounds over the festive and New Year period.
With a three-week break from league action on the horizon, Flanagan is ready to take stock and believes the squad can get vital work in before the final block of fixtures in the 2022/23 campaign.
“It’s been a tough block with all the travelling and short turnarounds,” admitted the Head Coach.
“We have met the challenges head on, the boys have been fantastic, and we turn up every week.
“I’d love to implement more and put more of my stamp on this squad. But the hardest thing when you go week to week is to change too much.
“We are looking forward to a reset, to add more to our game.
“There is so much ability in the group, so much quality, that we can be a pretty good team and there are subtle changes I’d like to make about how we do things. That will come in time.
“The easy part of the journey is done. We look better, we feel better. The toughest part is to come.”
Dragons have lost out in over half the games this block by eight points or less and Flanagan admits Dragons must stop giving themselves too much to do after a series of big comebacks.
“If we stop giving head starts that will give us more chance of winning games,” he acknowledged.
“It’s never through a lack of effort with our players, we are working hard with our processes and the easiest part of the journey is done.
“You can see how consistent we are becoming and the brand we are playing.
“The hardest part is winning games and getting that final five percent.
“That is what excites me because to get that you have to work extremely hard. That is what we are doing.
“Look at the Lions game. I couldn’t hide my frustration post game because we should have been so much better first half,” he added.
“We’re never as poor or as good as we believe, but that second half performance was as good as we have been since I have been here.
“It is the brand we want to play, the energy we want to play with, I was excited by that, but we need to rectify some of those slow starts.”
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