‘Dragons’ passion is contagious’ – New boy Nott follows the lead of fiery locals

POWER: Dragons lock George Nott charged into the Sharks
POWER: Dragons lock George Nott charged into the Sharks

GEORGE Nott says the Dragons' new boys have been inspired by the passion of the local lads after an aggressive start to the United Rugby Championship.

The Rodney Parade region made a nightmare start to the season when hammered 44-6 in Edinburgh but the response has been stirring.

The Dragons, with head Dai Flanagan calling the shots after the exit of Dean Ryan, flew into Munster and the Sharks with hostility at Rodney Parade.

They stunned the Irish province 23-17 and were agonisingly close to upsetting the South Africans only to be denied by a late score in a 20-19 defeat.

Lock/blindside Nott has been to the fore and the summer signing from London Irish has been struck by the atmosphere at Rodney Parade, which has seen the core of Dragons fans loudly backing their team thanks to the on-field fight shown.

Bassaleg's Aaron Wainwright on the charge for the Dragons against the Sharks

"I am new to the environment and have been hit full force by it. It was my first league home game against Munster and I experienced how loud and passionate the fans are," said the 26-year-old.

"That translates onto the pitch, that passion is contagious. We are all here representing the shirt.

"One of the big differences between the Premiership and here is that the majority of the players are from the area.

"They have that connection to the shirt that you cannot buy. The Dragons have a big percentage of the squad from the area and they will bleed for the shirt. That makes us others want to as well."

Eight of the XV came through the Dragons' academy while the likes of Lloyd Fairbrother, Rhodri Williams and Ross Moriarty are well-established at Rodney Parade.

Nott's work rate and set-piece prowess has caught the eye in the early days of his Rodney Parade career and the north Walian wants to be a key figure at Benetton on Sunday.

Flanagan and the management team are set to make a few changes because derbies are looming against Cardiff and the Ospreys but Nott wants to go again in Treviso (kick-off 2.45pm).

George Nott at a scrum (Huw Evans Agency)

"You saw the pride in the performance against the Sharks and the amount of effort that went into it," he said.

"There were mixed emotions, the boys were gutted but there was so much to take forward from there. As a club we are striding forward each week, not just in games but in training.

"The good thing about rugby is that we have another game this week and we are looking forward to it.

"I don't want to miss any games, as soon as the final whistle goes one week you are craving the next fixture. We want a chance to redeem ourselves and take another step forward."