Bradley Roberts Plans To Use Dragons Re-Set To Fire New Wales Bid

Wales and Dragons hooker Bradley Roberts. Pic: Getty Images.

Bradley Roberts Plans To Use Dragons Re-Set To Fire New Wales Bid

By Steffan Thomas

Bradley Roberts has targeted a place in Wales’ autumn squad and is adamant the Dragons can go from strength to strength this season.

The 26-year-old hooker – who came off the bench as the Dragons lost 20-19 at home to the Sharks on Saturday – has enjoyed a rise that has been nothing short of remarkable.

Just two years ago, Roberts was playing semi-professional rugby for a club called Rainey Old Boys, who are based in the Londonderry town of Magherfafelt in Northern Ireland, before earning a professional contract with Ulster.

Born and bred in South Africa, Roberts qualifies for Wales courtesy of a grandmother from Llandysul in Carmarthenshire and made his Test debut in the 23-18 defeat to South Africa at the Principality Stadium last November.

He has yet to add to his one cap but having relocated to the Dragons in the summer he is confident of forcing his way into the reckoning.

“I wouldn’t have come to Wales if I didn’t want to play for Wales,” said a confident Roberts.

“That is my major goal but my major focus at the moment is playing well for the Dragons.


“You can’t really think too far ahead, you’ve got to be in the moment, be present, and the rest will sort itself out. You’ve got to be putting it all on the line and hopefully the coaches will notice you, and get you involved.

“The major feedback I got from the Wales management was to keep improving my set-piece game. I’ve been working hard at that, and I think I’ve got good men around me to support me at the Dragons.

“My chances of making the summer tour were a bit hindered because I wasn’t getting much game time at Ulster. The fact I was leaving them at the end of the season definitely played a part in that.”

He will face stiff competition from the fit-again Ken Owens along with the likes Ryan Elias, Dewi Lake, Sam Parry, and Dragons teammate Elliot Dee but he has every faith in his own ability.

“There’s a lot more to come from me,” he said.

“I haven’t really had as much opportunities, ball in hand, as I would have liked. I’ve been very active in defence, but I definitely want to look to get the ball in my hands more often, especially in space.

“I love beating defenders. I don’t think I’ve carried as much as I want to, but I think that will come once people start gelling more, and we find our structure and what works for us.”

Rodney Parade has been in turmoil of late with the Dragons expected to part ways with director of rugby Dean Ryan over the coming weeks.


Head coach Dai Flanagan is now in charge, but Roberts insists the uncertainty hasn’t had a detrimental effect on the players.

Against the South African Sharks, the Dragons were unable to replicate their stunning victory over Munster the week before, but Roberts added: “We are a different kettle of fish this season.

“We’ve got a lot more about us,” said Roberts. “We’ve started winning but we need to do it consistently.

“I know we’ve got the quality in our squad to win more games. We have what it takes both mentally and physically to get the job done.”

Tries from Grant Williams and Thaakir Abrahams along with 13 points from the boot of Boeta Chamberlain got the Sharks over the line.

Elliot Dee scored the Dragons’ only try with young outside-half Will Reed kicking 14 points.


The Dragons were leading with four minutes to go until a try from Abrahams along with Chamberlain’s conversion meant they had to make do with a losing bonus point.

Flanagan said: “Our effort was outstanding all game. That’s life, no-one likes losing but we’ll pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and go again.

“A six-day turnaround [from last Sunday’s win over Munster] is really difficult to go against a team as physical as these, so we had to nail our recovery and prep and I think we did that.

“What’s really pleasing for me is how much more we’ve got. These are good players and we need to believe there’s plenty more in the tank for us.”


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