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RUGBY IN NEWPORT AND GWENT

Newport-Gwent Dragons

The Newport Gwent Dragons are one of four professional rugby Regions in Wales playing in the Celtic League, Powergen Cup and the Heineken Cup competitions. The Dragons represent the South-East Wales area and play all of their matches at Rodney Parade, situated in the city of Newport. The Dragons were established in the summer of 2003 following the WRU’s decision to reduce nine clubs into five regions. In the summer of 2004 this dropped to four following the unfortunate demise of The Celtic Warriors.

Aled Brew of the Dragons

Newport Gwent Dragons officially represent southeast Wales, and play all of their matches at Rodney Parade, situated in the city of Newport, although friendly (pre-season) games have been played at a number of other grounds around a region that includes well-known club sides such as Pontypool RFC, Newbridge RFC and Abertillery RFC.

Largely drawn from the Newport RFC and Ebbw Vale RFC sides of the preceding year, Newport Gwent Dragons were considered one of the weaker regions in the Welsh game, although their coach Mike Ruddock was considered one of the best. However, this in a way worked for them as they were disrupted less than other regions by missing players during the 2003 World Cup. A creditable third place finish in the Celtic League was the result, impressing WRU bosses enough for Ruddock to be offered the vacant Welsh coaching job in the summer of 2004. In their second season of existence they finished in 4th place in the Celtic League and in the pool stages of the Heineken Cup. In 2006, after finishing 8th in the Celtic League, The Newport-Gwent Dragons had to beat Overmach Parma in a play-off to qualify for the Heineken Cup. It was expected that, despite several injuries to various players, the Newport Gwent Dragons would cruise to victory. However, after a poor performance from the Newport Gwent Dragons, Parma won the match 24-15 denying the Dragons a place in the Heineken Cup.

The 2006-07 Magners League season has seen the Dragons improve, both off the pitch, where attendances have increased, on the pitch, with new players such as Joe Bearman (from Cornish Pirates), Colin Charvis (from Newcastle Falcons) and Aled Brew (on loan for one season from the Ospreys and now returned for the 2007-08 Magners League). New backroom staff, such as video analyst Will Precious were also recruited. The teams primary sponsor is currently Finning, with Celtic Energy being the secondary sponsor. The season finished with the Newport Gwent Dragons having a good run in the European Challenge Cup, losing to ASM Clermont Auvergne in the semi-final, 46-29[1]. This was not reflected in other competitions where they finished 3rd from bottom in the Magners League and joint bottom in their EDF Energy Cup group. However, they did qualify for the Heineken Cup by beating Calvisano in their playoff at Rodney Parade, 22-15 on the 18th May, 2007[2].

Click here to visit Newport-Gwent Dragons home page

 

   
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