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Dragons in threesome with two Hookers 
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Post Dragons in threesome with two Hookers
THE DRAGONS have signed a pair of hookers after former Wales front rower Rhys Thomas decided to hang up his boots to pursue his coaching career with the academy.

The Rodney Parade side have snapped up Welsh-qualified Gerard Ellis from London Irish and Liam Belcher from Cardiff Blues who have both been training at Ystrad Mynach under the watchful eye of new boss Bernard Jackman.

The pair will tussle with Elliot Dee and Rhys Buckley for the number 2 jersey with Thomas taking on an academy role at the end of an illustrious career that saw him win 27 caps.





The 35-year-old made 70 appearances for the Dragons and captained the side in 2015/16 after previously playing for Wasps and Cardiff Blues, helping the Welsh region win the Amlin Challenge Cup by stunning a star-studded Toulon in 2010.

Thomas has been an influential figure in helping the younger members of the Dragons’ senior squad and, after previously coaching age-grade sides alongside his playing commitments, he will continue to play a key role in developing future generations under academy boss James Chapron.

The former Wales hooker leaves Dee and Buckley to battle with two new boys for the 2 jersey.

Ellis, 24, is a mobile, ball-carrying hooker who was a back row forward when he came through the ranks at Irish.

Born in Southampton, he qualifies for both England and Wales through his parents and captained Llandovery College before returning to Reading where he was converted into a front rower.

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/ ... ng_career/


Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:51 pm
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Post Re: Dragons in threesome with two Hookers
I guess they needed some more hookers after the departures of Thomas and the fotgettable Darran Harris, but these signings are hardly likely to set the pulse racing. Belcher is OK, still only 21 and was part of the U20 grand slam team with the likes of Kieron Giles, Harrison Keddie and Dillon Lewis; but I can't help but think that the Blues would have wanted to hold onto him if he was all that great.


Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:56 pm
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Post Re: Dragons in threesome with two Hookers
Belcher looks a wholehearted player but maybe lacking in a bit of quality. Dee is potentially an international class hooker if he can stay fit

Glad Thomas has moved on. I get the whole leadership thing but if you look at his contribution as a player it was very average


Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:07 am
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Post Re: Dragons in threesome with two Hookers
I don't see why there is a cry for the Dragons to sign international standard players? They are neither going to be able to afford them nor attract them. Their first priority should be to bring in better players in positions in which they are weak.

The Dragons more than any team would be surely the team that could be most forgiven for bringing in a few ex international non Welsh journey men? The young players in The Dragons squad has some good young players but as things stand, they will be wise to move on once an offer turns up. Having some older players to guide and get results will improve things. Compare to the Scarlets who had a great team with only a few key non Welsh players.


Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:31 am
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Post Re: Dragons in threesome with two Hookers
Now that the WRU own the Dragons .. would it not be an advantage for younger players to be playing for them ?

If they have international aspirations you could argue that the Dragons are a more direct route ?

Contentious perhaps but, inevitable in a way.


Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:57 am
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Post Re: Dragons in threesome with two Hookers
welshy34 wrote:
Now that the WRU own the Dragons .. would it not be an advantage for younger players to be playing for them ?

If they have international aspirations you could argue that the Dragons are a more direct route ?

Contentious perhaps but, inevitable in a way.


Difficult to live with the results with a 'development' region that isn't declared as such?

When are the WRU going to bite the necessary bullet to reduce Regions front line quota?

Reformation. a must, especially with what appears to be Conferences to the fore?

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Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:03 am
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Post Dragons best bet for aspiring young internationals ?
As the title suggests ..

Now that the Dragons are a WRU owned franchise will they inevitably become a more direct feeder for the Welsh team.
Will the direct link generate a gravitational pull that will over time suck up the cream of the emerging talent ?

I.E. if you want to get your first cap for Wales it could well become an ADVANTAGE to be part of the Dragons squad as opposed to any of the other PRIVATE franchises.


Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:05 am
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Post Re: Dragons in threesome with two Hookers
welshy34 wrote:
Now that the WRU own the Dragons .. would it not be an advantage for younger players to be playing for them ?

If they have international aspirations you could argue that the Dragons are a more direct route ?

Contentious perhaps but, inevitable in a way.


Yeah, I agree but I would say a good mix of decent senior and promising young players has to be the case. The Dragons often have d3cebt young players but always face a veating against better sides. If thet had a few really good players around them and put them into space, they would improve more.

I don't know if the Dragons are a more direct route however, very often it is difficult to see how good a player is for the Dragons. Only the really good seem to shine for them. I can't name any but there must be players that have been overlooked because they play for the Dragons.


Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:26 am
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Post Re: Dragons in threesome with two Hookers
.

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Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:31 am
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Post Re: Dragons in threesome with two Hookers
welshy34 wrote:
Now that the WRU own the Dragons .. would it not be an advantage for younger players to be playing for them ?

If they have international aspirations you could argue that the Dragons are a more direct route ?

Contentious perhaps but, inevitable in a way.




Really depends on the quality of the young player...... many people think we are over run with young talent, perhaps thats why we finished 7th in the WC.

The best environment for a top young player is with experienced battle hardened quality players as it gives them the opportunity to grow and learn. Dragons are made up of never beens and has beens.

What do you mean by "direct rout"? Wales often struggle without the 15 best players on the field so the emergence of political selections would be a spiraling descent into melt down.

Not inevitable in any way shape of form, because the effect on the other regions and their backers would see the already poor fan base greatly depleted and who in their right mind would put money into a region that loses its best players to the WRU run cartel.

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Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:33 am
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Post Re: Dragons best bet for aspiring young internationals ?
I just responded on another post.

I would say that the Dragons is a bit of a strange one. On the one hand the better players in the region are likely to play for the Dragons but on the other hand only the really good shine and then get signed by other teams. For an average player (i.e. average Wales squad player) they need to be playing in a better team to be used to winning and knowing what it takes to string together a decent try or win a game. Having really good players around you helps you improve.

As I have said in my other message, I can't name any but there must be players in the Dragons who have been overlooked because they haven't reached their potential or have not been picked because they play for the Dragons. Given that the Dragons seem to produce a decent amount of U 20 players, (I would be interested to see the numbers) in about the same numbers as the other regions but then don't get many of these play full international would sugges this is the case... apologies if that wasn't clear. What I am trying to say is what proportion of U20 players start with the Dragons and what percentage of these get full caps compared to the other regions?


Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:34 am
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Post Re: Dragons best bet for aspiring young internationals ?
Blindside wrote:
welshy34 wrote:
Now that the WRU own the Dragons .. would it not be an advantage for younger players to be playing for them ?

If they have international aspirations you could argue that the Dragons are a more direct route ?

Contentious perhaps but, inevitable in a way.




Really depends on the quality of the young player...... many people think we are over run with young talent, perhaps thats why we finished 7th in the WC.

The best environment for a top young player is with experienced battle hardened quality players as it gives them the opportunity to grow and learn. Dragons are made up of never beens and has beens.

What do you mean by "direct rout"? Wales often struggle without the 15 best players on the field so the emergence of political selections would be a spiraling descent into melt down.

Not inevitable in any way shape of form, because the effect on the other regions and their backers would see the already poor fan base greatly depleted and who in their right mind would put money into a region that loses its best players to the WRU run cartel.


Freudian slip - I meant Direct Route but I think you understood what I was implying anyway.

Yes - I'm suggesting that is it absoultely inevitable (over time) that the Dragons will get more attention/focus/investment(facilities/resource/time) form the WRU .
Difficult to know how that will manisfest itself on the pitch performance/results wise but given that this is exactly the intention of the WRU (to invest and improve all aspects) .. THEY at the very least are expecting SOME sort of manifisation.

I'm not talking about political selections for the International side - I'm not quite that cynical.

I'm talking about the inevitable synergy that will emerge from both organisations being owned and invested in by the WRU.
They will look to streamline working practises and cross pollinate.
It's good business.

Aspiring young internationals i.e. Wales U20 players etc will gravitate towards an organisation that will have direct access to WRU resources.
(I accept your point about always needing some quality experience in there)

It's a new world order.


Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:17 am
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Post Re: Dragons best bet for aspiring young internationals ?
welshy34 wrote:
As the title suggests ..

Now that the Dragons are a WRU owned franchise will they inevitably become a more direct feeder for the Welsh team.
Will the direct link generate a gravitational pull that will over time suck up the cream of the emerging talent ?

I.E. if you want to get your first cap for Wales it could well become an ADVANTAGE to be part of the Dragons squad as opposed to any of the other PRIVATE franchises.


Not nit picking Welshy but are they a 'franchise'(note the quotes ..take the term loosely or whatever that's not the point) given that unlike the other regions they are now 'owned' by the Union.

Surely, it is now in their remit to act independently as such. What is the PRW role for them now? e.g in the EPCR the Union has 1 vote and the PRW 1 vote too, ... seems to be that this needs sorting ....?

Or has it been??

and ..

Whatever happened to the Thomas proposal that the WRU babysit Cardiff Rugby whilst they sort out the real estate issue?

Hmmm...

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Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:03 pm
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Post Re: Dragons best bet for aspiring young internationals ?
welshy34 wrote:
Blindside wrote:
welshy34 wrote:
Now that the WRU own the Dragons .. would it not be an advantage for younger players to be playing for them ?

If they have international aspirations you could argue that the Dragons are a more direct route ?

Contentious perhaps but, inevitable in a way.




Really depends on the quality of the young player...... many people think we are over run with young talent, perhaps thats why we finished 7th in the WC.

The best environment for a top young player is with experienced battle hardened quality players as it gives them the opportunity to grow and learn. Dragons are made up of never beens and has beens.

What do you mean by "direct rout"? Wales often struggle without the 15 best players on the field so the emergence of political selections would be a spiraling descent into melt down.

Not inevitable in any way shape of form, because the effect on the other regions and their backers would see the already poor fan base greatly depleted and who in their right mind would put money into a region that loses its best players to the WRU run cartel.


Freudian slip - I meant Direct Route but I think you understood what I was implying anyway.

Yes - I'm suggesting that is it absoultely inevitable (over time) that the Dragons will get more attention/focus/investment(facilities/resource/time) form the WRU .
Difficult to know how that will manisfest itself on the pitch performance/results wise but given that this is exactly the intention of the WRU (to invest and improve all aspects) .. THEY at the very least are expecting SOME sort of manifisation.

I'm not talking about political selections for the International side - I'm not quite that cynical.

I'm talking about the inevitable synergy that will emerge from both organisations being owned and invested in by the WRU.
They will look to streamline working practises and cross pollinate.
It's good business.

Aspiring young internationals i.e. Wales U20 players etc will gravitate towards an organisation that will have direct access to WRU resources.
(I accept your point about always needing some quality experience in there)

It's a new world order.



Your new world order seems to rely on the WRU being an example of some higher order, an organization that is excellent at creation and use of resources that only needs the vehicle for its ambition and that vehicle could be the Dragons This may apply in a parallel universe but in my view its bears no relationship to reality.

The evidence for this thinking appears to be that Team Wales as done far better than the regions.... Gatland has been in charge for a decade, the WRU approach to team Wales has been to support WG, its a strategy thats worked to a large extent, what Warren wants Warren gets. However the wider picture is far worse in terms of nearly everything.

As a strategic goal, i see no evidence that the regions feel particularly threatened by the WRU take over, so that makes me come to the conclusion that it is not the intention to attempt to bus in the top stars. Your imagination has run wild because the WRU has taken over but the formula you are using to calculate reality seems deeply flawed to me. My conclusion would be that the eventual outcome of the WRU take over is more lkely to be winding down and extinction. When the almost inevitable decision to cut a region will be made, which region will be most easily cut.

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Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:09 pm
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Post Re: Dragons in threesome with two Hookers
Cymru am byth wrote:
I don't see why there is a cry for the Dragons to sign international standard players? They are neither going to be able to afford them nor attract them. Their first priority should be to bring in better players in positions in which they are weak.

The Dragons more than any team would be surely the team that could be most forgiven for bringing in a few ex international non Welsh journey men? The young players in The Dragons squad has some good young players but as things stand, they will be wise to move on once an offer turns up. Having some older players to guide and get results will improve things. Compare to the Scarlets who had a great team with only a few key non Welsh players.


I don't think anyone expects the Dragons to sign Halfpenny or North.

I would be happy to see just a few signings - Welsh or otherwise - that unquestionably improved the quality of the team. e.g. this time last year they signed THREE props from the Blues, of whom only Hobbs has been remotely useful (and Mitchell has already been released). Hopefully the WRU takeover will provide some stability that will improve the situation somewhat; after all it can hardly get worse.


Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:16 pm
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