Dean Ryan keen for Dragons to return to action in 2022

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  • Dean Ryan
    English rugby union footballer and coach

Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan hopes Dragons can return to competitive action in the New Year – after Covid disruption hit the festive derbies and ‘heart of the season’.

Dragons have seen derby games away at Ospreys on Boxing Day and the New Year’s Day clash with Cardiff in the United Rugby Championship (URC) both postponed due to Covid breakouts.

Ryan has now spoken of the difficulty of recent weeks and disappointment that the derby schedule has been so badly impacted.

“I’m incredibly disappointed that we haven’t been able to play,” he told Dragons’ official website. “Derbies are the heart of a season and, with a competition that is now cross border, the emphasis on the derbies is crucial.

Still in the dark

“From not having fans to not being able to play, it has almost taken the centre point of the season away and we’re yet to hear when it comes back in.

“The obvious challenges of fixtures, availability and Six Nations is the next dilemma, but hopefully the integrity of those derby games remains because they are everything that is great about Welsh rugby.

“We have 17 cases currently within the region,” added Ryan. “This week is down but we are preparing to face Scarlets next week.

“It’s difficult because we are avoiding certain types of training until we are aware of how it’s multiplying. Preparation is difficult in the normal format.

“This week has taken a shape which has allowed us to avoid significant contact, so no scrums, no mauls.

“We hope by next Tuesday that we have a clearer picture, for all four sides really, whether we can progress with a normal training week and hopefully get back to playing.”

Ryan has praised the way his players have adapted to the situation and admits, after the disruption of last season, the latest setback has just been the latest Covid related obstacle to overcome.

“I think the last two years has been testing for everybody,” he said. “I have only been here two and a half years and many things I’ve known here have been Covid.

“Last year we were getting shut down. During this period, we were shut down for two or three weeks going into Europe, which was very difficult for us.

“We have boys isolating at home with families but getting more people up and ready to play is our focus over the next 10 days or so.

“The attitude of the players has been spot-on and, as a backroom team, it’s a balancing act of being productive and not just putting things on for the sake of it.

“The last two weeks have been a bit week to week and that makes planning difficult because things drop very late. You have a shape of the week and then it changes in another direction.

“I think this week into next, let’s hope everybody starts to reduce the number of cases that are appearing within squads, and we can take a normal preparation week into a game.

“It has been disappointing that we haven’t been able to play in front of fans. Derbies are a special time for both fans and players.

“But now it’s about health and getting squads healthy again. Let’s hope the nation is moving towards a more positive outlook and we’ll see where things move next week.”

The article Dean Ryan keen for Dragons to return to action in 2022 appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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