Consistency is the key if the Newport Gwent Dragons are to improve on last season’s showing. That was the message from the Dragons’ new assistant coach, Danny Wilson.
The 33-year-old returns to Wales after a two-year stint as London Welsh’s Head Coach. And Wilson’s rein in charge at Old Deer Park saw substantial improvement on the pitch, they boasted one of the most dominant forward packs in the Championship and narrowly missed out on a place in the English top-flight after losing to Bristol in the semi-final of the play-offs.Consistency the key to success for Dragons
“Things went well at London Welsh last year and we just missed out in the play-offs after losing to Bristol,” Wilson said.
“Taking in to account all the financial problems, we had a really good season. We had a very good set piece and had something like a 90 per cent success rate in the lineout. We also had a good aggressive defence under Phil Greening. Our success was essentially built on a solid foundation with good players.”
The Dragons have targeted the set piece as an area which must improve and under Wilson the forwards are already being put through their paces on the training ground, with an early emphasis on the set-piece.
“I have been very impressed with what I have seen here so far. There are some really good players and the staff here are great. The players are a receptive bunch to coach and are keen to take on new ideas.Consistency the key to success for Dragons
“Training is going well and we have gone into set-piece work very early. Usually you would not be doing it at this stage, but it allows me to bring in the changes I want – just small technical things.
“Hopefully I can bring some consistency. That is the key word for me. We have to build a consistently solid set piece. That will allow us to launch the attacking style of rugby we like to play.
“It’s not going to happen overnight but I certainly don’t think there is a huge deficiency here. If you look at last year there were some really good performances against quality opposition.
The move to Rodney Parade is the latest in a long line of coaching appointments, for Wilson who used to compete for the number 2 shirt with Steve Jones while the pair were studying at UWIC.
“I’ve pretty much been coaching full time since I left UWIC”, said Wilson.
“I graduated with a BSc in sports coaching and moved to Treorchy, which is where I had the back injury which effectively retired me at 25-years-old. But I had made the decision to go into coaching very early. Coaching was always what I wanted to do.
“I spent three years with the WRU and Cardiff Blues as a skills coach, and I’ve worked with the Welsh Sevens, U18, 19 and 20s and been the throwing in coach for the senior squad.
“But coming to the Dragons now is the right move at the right time for me. It is a set up I hope to remain with for the long term. Obviously the English Division One is a strong league – pretty much all the players are full time and it is literally week in week out.
“In the Magners there is more recovery time but, especially at the top, it’s the next level up. Obviously there’s the Heineken as well which was a big factor for me, I’m really looking forward to pitting ourselves against the likes of Toulouse and Wasps this year.
“There’s some real good young talent here mixed with some experienced older heads. So I’m excited and really looking forward to the season starting, and hopefully we can provide a solid platform to perform off.”