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Boss Ryan Backs English Championship Loans

11/01/2022

Boss Dean Ryan backs eye-opening English Championship loans to ensure the next crop of Dragons are URC ready when their time for first team action comes.

Tighthead Luke Yendle and full-back Ioan Davies are with Jersey on loan while lock Max Williams is also in England’s second tier with Coventry.

James Benjamin spent the start of the season with Cornish Pirates to help in his switch from the back row to hooker before returning to the region.

Ryan believes the standard of the league bridges the gap from the Welsh Premiership to the United Rugby Championship and is an eye-opening taste of the demands of senior professional rugby for the young guns.

“If you are not making it at some of these other clubs then it's probably telling you that you have some work to do before you make it in the URC,” said the Director of Dragons Rugby.

“We have talked a lot internally that we need people who are URC-ready rather than using the URC to develop them, which is where we have been for some time now.

“That has sometimes left us exposed and we are trying to get more people URC-ready before they are in the first team.”

Dragons academy talent such as Will Reed, Evan Lloyd, Oli Andrew, Joe Peard, Ben Moa and Connor Chapman has been playing in the Premiership for Newport and Ebbw Vale, while there is a link with RGC courtesy of former coach Ceri Jones.

However, the Championship provides regular rugby for those ready to make the next step towards the first team.

"We were very conscious that, with the age profile of our group, they were missing out on competitive opportunities,” said Ryan.

“We have struggled to find those appropriate competitive experiences and feel the Championship offers an opportunity for some of them. I know Max, Luke and Ioan have all benefited from being out and playing.

“It's a real challenge for everybody, what does that second tier level look like? It's felt even more so by us through the inexperience of some of our development players.

“The last two years has been a real challenge for them because they haven't played consistently, therefore their development has been hampered.

“We have tried to solve that by creating as many windows as we can in whatever appropriate competition is relevant.”

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