Keddie wants fast Euro start


Captain Harri Keddie has urged Dragons to start the final fixture of the South African tour on the front foot and show they have learnt the lessons of the opening two games.

The Men of Gwent finish the trip with the EPCR Challenge Cup opener with Emirates Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday (kick-off 10.45am UK).

Dragons have impressed in South Africa in the league with Lions and DHL Stormers pushed all the way before narrow defeats.

Keddie now wants those lessons to be taken onboard for the last game before the team jets back to Wales over the weekend.

He said: “Looking back at the last few weeks, we have spoken about starting faster.

“Both second halves have been pretty good from our point of view, but it's making sure we start the game well and don't have to play catch up in that last 20 minutes.

“We know we’re a fit side, we know we can play some good rugby. We've just left ourselves a little bit too much to come last 20 minutes of games.”

Keddie has also put the success of the tour down to ensuring basics have been performed well.

“Dai (Flanagan) has bought confidence in, but we are also making sure we are doing basics well,” he said.

“You get periods in all matches where things are maybe going away from you a bit, but we have spoken about reverting to our basics.

"Nail your set piece, nail the breakdown, nail the pass accuracy. If you do little things well in rugby, it can bring big results.

“That's something we've really been focusing on as a group since Dai has come in.

“If we do end up finding a period of the game where we may be struggling on the backfoot just revert to that. It’s real clear, simple messages that can put you back on track quickly.

“The boys work hard for each other. I think you can see that the last few weeks, particularly two difficult places to go,” he added.

“It would have been easy to throw in the towel with some of the score lines we had, but we have fought back, particularly in the last 20 minutes of both games.

“The results are frustrating. We’ve got to nail our first half performance this week. We know we can perform well.

“We are not talking about changing what we're doing, just being cleaner in terms of not giving them easy penalties in either 22 to relieve pressure.

“Little things like that against the South African teams make a big difference because they've obviously got that forward power game, with regards to maul and scrums.

“Bits of inaccuracy, whether it be in discipline or knock on here or there, can potentially give them another penalty opportunity that ends up marching them 40 or 50 metres up the field. If we can tidy those little bits up, I think we'll be in with a shot.”

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