Boss Dean Ryan says his Dragons are ready to get ‘back into the rhythm of playing’ as they prepare to end an enforced month on the sidelines.
After a hat-trick of derby fixtures were postponed due to Covid outbreaks in regional rugby, Dragons are set to return to the field against Benetton Rugby in the European Challenge Cup on Saturday (kick-off 3.15pm UK time).
The Director of Dragons Rugby admits the return has not been without hurdles with cross-border travel a challenge for all teams in the current climate.
However, after four weeks without action, the Round Three fixture at Stadio Comunale di Monigo in Italy is one his team is eager to tackle.
“We’ve still got some challenges, but we are desperate to play. That’s the most important thing,” stated Ryan.
“The last few weeks have been difficult, not only from the well-publicised challenges around Covid, but in terms of motivation into a week.
“Every week we start thinking we are going to play, and then things change part way through the week.
“Credit to the players because their energy and enthusiasm has been maintained throughout.
“Covid doesn’t just go away, it is very much part of the environment we are in, but this has been our best week for some time, in terms of numbers and getting prepared to play.
“We want to see where we are. We don’t play next week, which looked like a window of opportunity back at the start of the season. It doesn’t necessarily feel like that right now after this break.
“What is most important is getting back into the rhythm of playing and hopefully those that are in the national selectors eyes can also make a statement.”
Ryan is keen for his Dragons to rediscover some momentum after back-to-back defeats to Scottish sides in the United Rugby Championship and Europe.
“Going into the autumn we had been in good form, we were building and were competitive in every game, but Edinburgh and Glasgow rocked us a little bit,” he admitted.
“It has got more context now they have beaten Saracens, Exeter and Cardiff. They are sides that has made significant improvements and it rocked us at a time when weren’t at our strongest.
“This competition (Europe) and going into the next phase of the season is about us being able to maintain a level of competitiveness and get some momentum.
“There is a fixture mountain building towards the end of the year, and we want to be in the best shape across this period to get some momentum into it.”
Credit to the players because their energy and enthusiasm has been maintained throughout...