By Paul Jones
Dai Flanagan insists Dragons players need to enjoy the company of their coaches as he looked forward to the rest of the season in charge at the region, following the sidelining of Dean Ryan.
Although the Dragons have yet to confirm the departure of director of rugby Ryan, it is expected to be announced this week after the agreement of a financial settlement.
It means head coach Flanagan will step up to be the man in charge and he has vowed to create a healthy environment, building on the feelgood factor of Sunday’s 23-17 victory over Munster.
That was the Dragons’ first win at Rodney Parade for over 18 months and came after rumours of a major falling-out between Ryan and many of his senior players.
It was also a huge result for Welsh regional rugby after both Cardiff and the Scarlets leaked over 50 points in defeat at the weekend, leaving their aggregate tally of just one win in seven games before the Dragons’ match.
Flanagan – who arrived early in the summer from the Scarlets to wok under Ryan – told the South Wales Argus: “”We need to enjoy being in each other’s company, so as staff we need to provide the opportunity for the players to muck in together.
“We have to learn to be comfortable with each other and the tighter we become as a unit, the harder we will be to beat.
“I asked them before the game to fight for each other.” 💪
Dragons Head Coach, Dai Flanagan gives his reaction to an eventful day at Rodney Parade which gave his side their first home win in 17 months as they beat Munster 23-17 🏉 pic.twitter.com/Cc9t5jdgDx
— BBC ScrumV (@BBCScrumV) September 25, 2022
“There are certain non-negotiables that I have as a coach and I am sure the players will get used to that as we go along.
“If things were to move in certain directions, I will just always be me. I can assure people that I won’t change,” he said.
“I am the way I am, people love me or hate me. I am a coach who is quite demanding on standards but I am very much a believer in people.”
With Flanagan at the helm, the Dragons pulled off a huge shock by defeating Munster for the first time since 2015.
But the Dragons had to rely on a superb individual try from Rio Dyer for the victory with JJ Hanrahan kicking six penalties.
Munster’s tries came from Stephen Archer and Ben Healy, with the latter adding two conversions and a penalty.
Dragons – dire last week, Dyer this week!
Great stuff and a deserved win – well done Dai Flanagan and all. 🏉 https://t.co/Z0eGira7Fr
— Phil Steele (@philsteele1) September 25, 2022
Flanagan added: I’ve been coaching for a long time and I work hard at it, like I ask players to work hard at their craft.
“Nobody is ever perfect, if you think that you are perfect then you are wrong, so I will always try to make myself better which will then make the players better.
“As head coach at this region it’s my job to make sure we prepare for games [well] and we were off in Edinburgh. We all looked in the mirror and you could see the effort that we gave against Munster.”
“Dragons fans have been through a lot and all I can do is reassure them that the players have felt the pain as well and we’re working very hard to make sure this becomes normal, not a one-off.
“There was still a lot of error. I think if we’re honest with ourselves we can be much better, but that’s the exciting thing.
Andrew Coombs’ take on Dean Ryan. Nails it. pic.twitter.com/QOxDNhRWzz
— Jamie Phillips (@JNPhillips4) September 25, 2022
“You look at the talent we’ve got in this squad – you look at the individual players. But what I’m really proud of is the effort and energy that they brought and the fight they showed for each other.”
Munster coach Graham Rowntree said: “I was surprised about our inaccuracy particularly going into their 22, and our ability to keep the ball in that key area.
“That really shocked me I’ll be honest with you. Whoever you play you are going to have a challenge particularly when you play away from home regardless of what’s happened in the Dragons camp this week.
“I expected better in terms of the stuff we could have done better. It was just so poor.”
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