Head Coach Dai Flanagan hopes the squad at Dragons RFC will now reap the rewards of a ‘innovative’ and ‘creative’ pre-season.
Flanagan made the move to Rodney Parade in June and has been impressed by the talent at his disposal with the Men of Gwent.
Dragons kick-off the new season this Saturday evening as they face Edinburgh Rugby at the DAM Health Stadium.
And ahead of the big kick-off Flanagan has reflected on the positive work achieved this pre-season.
“I’ve loved the summer because we have been quite innovative with how we try to train and how we do stuff,” he said.
“Sometimes the summer can become all about hard work. But how do you integrate the rugby smarts? How do you get the individual development and make programmes bespoke?
“It’s been innovative and different here. I have enjoyed that.
“We are close to games now, so it is a bit more like the norm. But a big part of the way I do stuff, and Dean has echoed me on this, is we try and hand over a lot of ownership to the players.
“They lead reviews, previews and they are trusted to do the work.
“Obviously, they are guided, but the more ownership they have the more they can develop. The environment has allowed that this summer.
“That is what I have enjoyed. We have been creative with how we have taught learning and different areas of the game. Hopefully that will rub off and give them ownership and understanding.”
Dragons head to Scotland on day one of the United Rugby Championship season and Flanagan has outlined what he wants to see from the playing squad as the campaign progresses.
“Let’s get better every day – that is how I live my life,” he said.
“We can target certain things in the first block – some may be realistic, and others may be unrealistic – but the biggest area for me is asking ‘are we better than we were eight weeks ago’?
“After we play Edinburgh, we will be better for Munster. If we take that attitude, I am sure we will win more than we lose.
“I’ve been outside of Gwent for a long time and you have an opinion and think those boys work hard. But sometimes you don’t see the talent here. The belief that should be around the place,” he added.
“That is what I am trying to install. There are certain non-negotiables in how we go about our business, but we also must back ourselves with turnovers, with transition and moving the ball.
“You’d struggle to find better players in space in the UK than we have here. So why not?
“We want to be a team that fans come to Rodney Parade to watch and think I have enjoyed watching that, they put their bodies on the line and they had a real go.”
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