The forgotten region

Amid all the chaos enveloping rugby in Wales, it is easy to forget that we are halfway through the season. Once again the four regions have failed miserably in Europe, being outclassed by their English and Irish counterparts who have the added advantage of being able to hold onto their best players rather than watch them flock over the channel to the money-spinning Top 14 competition. At league level in the Rabodirect, the Ospreys have been flying the Welsh flag as seemingly the only welsh challengers for the title, while the Scarlets and the Blues wrestle with mediocrity in the lower places. But what about the Dragons? Well, the so-called 4TH REGION aren’t doing so bad actually. In fact, they sit in a comfortable mid-table position of 6th, comfortably ahead of the Cardiff Blues in 9th and sitting just ahead of the Llanelli Scarlets in 7th. Home victories against both rival regions below them have been highlights of a promising campaign under new coach Lyn Jones. So why are they still being ignored? It seems whenever you pick up a newspaper or watch the news the Dragons seem to be flailing behind their rivals in coverage. Well, for a start the Dragons do not have the financial firepower which seems to be required to be noticed in sport. A case in point would be the lack of international class from overseas, while both the Ospreys, with All Black Jerry Collins, and the Blues ,with fellow All Black Casey Laulala, have been able to afford these players of international class over the last few years. On top of this many of the promising youngsters produced by the Dragons seem to very quickly be snapped up by the other regions with players such as Ian Gough and Jason Tovey being signed by the Ospreys and Blues respectively in the past. As I am writing another promising prospect for the future, hooker Sam Parry (who has been called up to train with the Wales squad ahead of the Six Nations) has signed for the Ospreys along with fellow Welsh international and Dragon, full-back Dan Evans. All of this suggests that the Dragons continue to live in the shadow of their more illustrious neighbours despite the proud history of rugby union in Newport.

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