Dragons hoping for a boost from Ireland training camp after hard slog at home

CATCH: Lloyd Fairbrother in training at the Dragons' Ystrad Mynach base
CATCH: Lloyd Fairbrother in training at the Dragons' Ystrad Mynach base

THE Dragons hope an Irish training camp can help them hit the ground running in the United Rugby Championship after developing good habits on home soil.

The Rodney Parade club head to Dublin next week to step up their preparations for the start of the season on September 17.

Dean Ryan’s squad will be put through their paces in Ireland before returning to face Bristol Bears in their first warm-up on Friday.

They will then lock horns with Wasps and the Scarlets before the real rugby begins with an URC trip to Edinburgh.

The majority of the Dragons squad have been back since the end of June, including fit-again tighthead Lloyd Fairbrother.

“We’re through the first two blocks now and looking forward to playing games,” said the front rower, who returned for two games at the end of last season after a ruptured Achilles.

“Block one was a lot of fitness-based work, with running, weights and getting people up to the standard.

“Block two has all been about habits, our behaviours and who we want to be and what we represent.

“It has been hard work and the weather has been a little tricky at times, so it’s good to come out the other end.

“We’ve got a week off now to recharge and recuperate before we come back together as a squad in Dublin for a training week away.”

With new head coach Dai Flanagan getting settled at Rodney Parade, the Dragons are starting to nail down rugby details and will have no distractions in Ireland.

They are hoping for a dramatic improvement after winning just two games in a miserable 2021/22

South Wales Argus: Lloyd Fairbrother on the charge for the Dragons
South Wales Argus: Lloyd Fairbrother on the charge for the Dragons

Lloyd Fairbrother on the charge for the Dragons

“It’s always good to get away, in a fresh environment, and be around each other so we can finalise a few things, nail down some plays and the small details,” said Fairbrother.

“We have done all the graft and now it is about the detail before it is straight into games with Bristol and Wasps at home. We can’t wait to get going.

“Pre-season has been brilliant, and it has been a tough slog with a lot of hard graft.”

Cornishman Fairbrother joined from Exeter Chiefs in the summer of 2014 and is preparing for a ninth campaign at the Dragons.

The 30-year-old, whose mother is Welsh, enjoyed a change of scene last week at the open training session in Abertillery.

“It’s great to get out on the road,” he said. “The supporters, throughout my career at Dragons, have always been number one for me and have pulled me through any injuries or hard times.

“To see the numbers that turned up to support us, just to meet the new players and new staff, was brilliant. It was testament to the region as a whole and we can feel they are behind us.”