Willis still optimistic after opening day defeat

Guinness PRO12 Editor

4 Sep 2011


Dragons skipper Tom Willis insists his side will not be rethinking their RaboDirect Pro 12 pre-season ambitions despite an opening day reverse against defending champions Munster.


Despite a galaxy of stars being away with Ireland on international duty in New Zealand  – Munster demonstrated their enviable strength-in-depth by naming the likes of Johne Murphy, Doug Howlett, Lifeimi Mafi, Peter Stringer, Marcus Horan, Niall Ronan and Mick O'Driscoll in their matchday 22.

And that experience showed as the Dragons trailed 17-6 at the break after well-taken tries by centres Danny Barnes and Lifeimi Mafi.

A pair of penalties by Jason Tovey, combined with three yellow cards for the hosts, allowed Newport  to close to within five points with 10 minutes remaining.

However, fly-half Ian Keatley settled the defending champion’s nerves and ensured Newport left empty-handed.

“To be honest we haven't really sat down and set something definite out in terms of what we plan to achieve this season,” said Willis.

“We know what is important to us. We pride ourselves on making our supporters proud.

“If we can achieve that and do the basics brilliantly, the rest should follow.”