Flanagan vows bright future for club


Head Coach Dai Flanagan believes supporters can look forward to a bright future – admitting the time for excuses is over.

The Men of Gwent finished the season with defeat at Cardiff City Stadium against Scarlets and in 15th place in the BKT United Rugby Championship league standings.

Flanagan admits it has been a season of disappointment for the club.

But with coaches Filo Tiatia and Sam Hobbs on board alongside several new Dragons, he is looking ahead to a summer of hard graft and then better results next season.

“Filo came over last week and we have had some off-site meetings that have gone late into the evenings with the new staff. He has seen what I have seen, there is an alignment there,” said Flanagan.

“There is going to be more expectation on the group to perform.

“We understand we’ve been young; we have been in and out of games, but those excuses are just that, they are excuses.

“You can see Rio (Dyer) needs to play in a good team, we need to put a good team around him.

“The new signings will come in with an expectation on them.

“And if you look at the fixture list, with four of the first five at home, it is a great start for us to really make an impact.”

Flanagan believes the appointment of Tiatia will be a key move for Dragons and also hinted that a number of new additions to the squad could still follow.

“Having extra support off the field is critical,” he said. “We have rebuilt and restructured the club while cutting, which allows us to grow.

“I’m not sure how many Head Coaches in the world would have been tasked with that while leading the team. But I am proud of that.

“I am disappointed with how we have performed on the field. I have got to give that full 100% attention as we hit the summer.

“I am confident about the future,” he added. “There are elements from the Scarlets game when you think ‘that could be alright’.

“We have a couple more signings we need to announce, they will give us more steel and depth.

“Will Reed has played 20 games and, as a young 22-year-old, that is tough for a ten.

“We need to back him; this club has produced a lot of tens but not carried it through. We just need to put more support around him.

“We need to get Dmirti (Arhip) with us full-time too because he has shown now what he can do.

“The guy hasn’t played for 14 months; we have built him up the last four weeks and he has shown what he can do.

“That last 35 minutes (against Scarlets) he was unbelievable. He has scrummed against a British Lion, and we had scrum penalty after scrum penalty.

“Unfortunately, we’ve conceded scrum penalties for the last few months so we need to get him done.

“We need to get a ten in the building too. That is critical. There will be some announcements, but maybe when we come back for pre-season.”

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We understand we’ve been young; we have been in and out of games, but those excuses are just that, they are excuses...
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