Newport Gwent Dragons centre Ashley Smith will be fit to face Connacht on Friday – and he’s challenging his teammates to forget all about their recent woes at Rodney Parade.
Having endured a tough start to the RaboDirect PRO12 season second-bottom Dragons showed some shoots of recovery last time out in the LV= Cup against Northampton.
Tonderai Chavanga notched a hat-trick as the region went down with a fight against the Saints – eventually losing 30-20.
Smith had a hand in two of Chavanga’s scores before being forced off with a hand injury in the second half.
But with a scan showing no significant damage Smith is set to be back in the midfield this Friday and he wants a similarly expressive approach against Connacht.
“We cannot allow the run to hang over us and hinder our performance – we need to express ourselves against Connacht,” Smith told the South Wales Argus.
“We did that against Northampton and we need to do it again, because the run might be putting us under pressure but it’s up to us to deal with that as professionals.
“The performance was a lot better on Sunday but we need to eradicate the silly mistakes that allowed Northampton to pull away in the third quarter [when they scored 18 unanswered points].
“We showed our attacking intent and looked sharp, while the defence was a lot better in terms of its width and line speed.
“Northampton are a very strong side but the boys were gutted afterwards and straight away were looking forward to Connacht.”