Scrum half Rhodri William has urged Dragons RFC to build on a positive opening result in the EPCR Challenge Cup as they return to home soil this Saturday.
Williams was named player-of-the-match in the Round 1 game with Emirates Lions that ended 31-31 as Dragons took three points back from South Africa.
Next up is a home clash with French Top14 side Section Paloise – known to many as Pau – at Rodney Parade on Saturday (kick-off 5.30pm.
And Williams is eager for a positive opening day to be the foundation for a strong European campaign this term for the Men of Gwent.
“Three points is a good start,” he said. “We can be proud of our efforts, but it does show where the group is going that we are not happy with that result. We’re not satisfied.
“The changing room was quite disappointed afterwards not to finish it off. But we can take positives and use that confidence into Pau.
“We are competitive, and it has all been away from home recently. Let’s now take that momentum back to Rodney Parade for a big few weeks.
“We wanted to take the five points. It could have gone either way and both teams had chances late on.
“The last few minutes was hard to watch from the sidelines. When Sam (Davies) struck it, from the angle I thought it was over.
“The penalty for them, and we know what the kickers can do for Lions at altitude, was close and it would have been painful if that went over. But we’ll take it and now it is about backing it up at home.”
Reflecting on his own performance, Williams believes he can still hit new heights during a big month for the club with European and festive derbies on the horizon.
“I’m enjoying my rugby and I was pleased with how I played in Johannesburg,” he said.
“There’s still more growth and a few things that weren’t quite at the top, but I take the performance (against Lions) as a positive and hopefully I can take that into Pau and the festive games.
“We’ve enjoyed the sun the last two and a half weeks, but from facetiming family back home we could see the weather we were coming back to,” he smiled.
“It’s pretty frosty so we need to used to that pretty quick.
“There is real promise for us in Europe this season. We’ve been fielding some different squads in recent games, we made nine changes before Lions, and everyone is doing a good job.
“We feel we can challenge in this competition. Taking three points in game one sets us up and now it about backing it up at home against Pau.”
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We are competitive, and it has all been away from home recently. Let’s now take that momentum back to Rodney Parade for a big few weeks...