Monday 5 December 2016

Dragons aiming to 'take advantage' of depleted Leinster

Published 29/01/2016 | 02:30

Wales wing Hallam Amos (left, with Neil Jenkins) has been released to the Dragons and will have a point to prove (Getty)
Wales wing Hallam Amos (left, with Neil Jenkins) has been released to the Dragons and will have a point to prove (Getty)

While Leinster may be licking their wounds after last weekend's humbling at the hands of Wasps, this evening's opponents Newport Gwent Dragons are doing the same after they came up well short against Sale Sharks.

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Unlike Leinster, however, the Dragons will compete in the knockout stages of Europe, albeit in the Challenge Cup, but they have domestic issues of their own as their lowly league position suggests.

The Welsh side sit just one place off the bottom and have won just three games all season.

Boosted

They have been boosted by the fact that the highly rated Hallam Amos has been released by Wales and the winger will be eager to prove a point to Warren Gatland ahead of next weekend's Six Nations opener against Ireland in Dublin.

Amos has just returned following a spell on the sidelines after he injured his shoulder in the famous victory over England at the World Cup last year.

"To be picked against England at Twickenham in the World Cup says an awful lot about Hallam as a person and a player. He did pretty well until he got injured," Wales' assistant coach Neil Jenkins said earlier this week.

Leinster may be without the bulk of their first-choice XV but the Dragons also have plenty of selection headaches.

Prop Phil Price is mindful of the fact that other teams will face far more disruption during the Six Nations period and he is calling on his side to take advantage of that and begin their climb back up the table.

"We've got to take advantage of the fact that the other sides don't have their international players and we have just got to make sure we start climbing the league," Price said.

"We have to be positive and achieve the best finish we can.

"We've got a good run of games in the league now and should be bouncing into the (Challenge Cup) quarter-final with Gloucester."

Despite their wretched form in the Pro12 this season, the Dragons have conceded just three tries at Rodney Parade and they have won six out eight games in all competitions at home.

Leinster came unstuck against the Dragons last season and Leo Cullen has already warned his side against another possible slip-up.

Buoyed

The Blues will be buoyed by the fact that they comfortably beat the Dragons earlier this season but Price insists that his side are doing everything they can turn Rodney Parade into a difficult place for opposing teams to come and play.

"We want to turn Rodney Parade back into the fortress that it once was and there's no reason why we can't have another clean sheet or just concede the odd try," he maintained.

"The work rate and attitude is always there from us but at Rodney Parade we feed off the crowd and the atmosphere while other teams don't always play to the best of their ability. But we also know we have to take that form away from home."

Leinster won't need any reminding about how tough the Dragons are at home but as they enter a crucial period in their season, their entire focus is on getting the right result this evening.

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