Young Dragons speedster suffers serious injury after grasping chance on the wing

BLOW: Dragons speedster David Richards has suffered a hamstring injury <i>(Image: Huw Evans Agency)</i>
BLOW: Dragons speedster David Richards has suffered a hamstring injury (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

EXCITING Dragons prospect David Richards faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring against the Lions on Sunday.

The 23-year-old winger received lengthy treatment on the pitch after going down on the hour in the United Rugby Championship defeat.

Richards, who suffered the blow to his right hamstring when attempting a sidestep, is still with the touring party ahead of Saturday’s encounter with the Stormers (kick-off midday) but is braced for a long time out.

“Dai had a nasty hamstring injury. It looks long term, he hyperextended his leg and put his hamstring in an awkward position,” said head coach Dai Flanagan.

“He will stay with us this week so that we can give him the best rehab possible then we’ll decide whether to keep looking after him here.

“It's a shame but he will come back stronger because he's a good person. He's a great kid, one of the most polite you'll meet, and his game was getting better and better.”

Richards earned a shot for the Dragons last season after impressing for Newport RFC – he was man of the match in the Black and Ambers’ Premiership Cup triumph at Principality Stadium – and made his first start against Zebre last month.

South Wales Argus: FLYING FINISH: Dragons speedster David Richards scores his second try against Zebre
South Wales Argus: FLYING FINISH: Dragons speedster David Richards scores his second try against Zebre

FLYING FINISH: Dragons speedster David Richards scores his second try against Zebre (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

He marked the occasion with a pair of tries and has impressed his boss after being shifted from his preferred position of full-back to cover out wide.

“It's been challenging for him because he's always been a full-back but I asked him to adapt his game to be able to understand defensive systems on the wing,” said Flanagan.

“He really took to that when the opportunities that came were on the wing and will miss him.”

The Dragons are stretched in the back three with Rio Dyer on a break after Wales duty and Ashton Hewitt and Jared Rosser out injured.

That led to centre Sio Tomkinson shifting out wide in Johannesburg when he finished strongly for a try down the left wing.

“We've had to adapt in the back three with asking Sio to do a shift for the team,” said Flanagan.

“It shows what a great person he is that is willing to do that for us, he's a quality player and having him on the field helps us raise our game.”

Jordan Williams replaced Richards against the Lions and is in pole position to start against the Stormers if the Dragons play it safe with Hewitt’s return from ankle surgery, with the 28-year-old in Port Elizabeth to continue his rehabilitation.

Dyer could fly out for next weekend’s European Challenge Cup opener against the Lions while Ioan Davies and Oli Andrew have performed well for Newport RFC.

The Dragons name their team to face the Stormers at midday on Friday.