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Josh Lewis Set For Dragons’ Date With Johnny Sexton . . . Their First for Seven Years

Josh Lewis aims to go from the ridiculous to the sublime this week and the rare privilege of a meeting with Johnny Sexton.

Dragons outside-half Lewis scored the vital try and kicked three conversions and two penalties at the weekend to earn his region their first Guinness Pro 14 victory in almost a year as they held on to beat the Southern Kings, 27-22.

The ridicule, though, was all too close for the Dragons, who threw away a 17-0 lead and were hanging on against opponents who are yet to win away from home since joining the tournament.

Now, Lewis wants to hold onto the No.10 shirt for the trip to Dublin this weekend where Sexton is likely to make his first start of the season for champions Leinster.

The Ireland and Lions star rarely plays against Welsh opposition in the Pro 14. Last season, he played twice – both against the Scarlets – and the last time Leinster felt they needed to play him against the Dragons was 2011.

“Sexton is probably one of the best tens in the world,” says Lewis, who was picked ahead of Gavin Henson for the Kings game.

“To play against him next week would mean a lot to me. Coming from the valleys against the best in the world – it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Lewis – who began his career at Ebbw Vale and joined the Dragons from Bath in the summer – seized his chance after losing out to Gavin Henson for selection by coach Bernard Jackman in the opening round against Benetton.

Josh Lewis

“Bernard pulled me to one side and said I want to go with Gav and I had to respect his decision, but obviously I want to keep the number 10 shirt as mine hopefully I can keep it for next week.

“Gav is a great guy, I’m learning quite a lot from him. I had the luxury of Rhys Priestland ahead of me last year and now with Gavin this year.

“I’ve learned about game management and playing in the right areas from Gav. Knowing when to strike and when to bring the forwards round etc.

“As long as I’m doing well and sticking to the game plan then hopefully I can keep the shirt.

“It means a lot to get a first win. “Last week it didn’t go to plan with too many errors, but this week we worked hard again in training and it showed in parts today.

“We still need to tidy up other parts of the game especially as we go to Leinster next and with a bit of confidence behind us so we can hopefully get a win out there as well.”

Ross Moriarty made his debut for the Dragons and Jackman is anxious the Wales back row forward he is given more time to blend with his new teammates.

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The former Gloucester player is also having an effect on capturing the type of dressing room Jackman is striving for.

“The boys feel better with him in the group because he doesn’t talk any nonsense and is a man of action,” says Jackman.

“Moriarty was excellent for 80 minutes and our back row in general has the potential to be really good, they just need time playing together.

“He said that he felt sluggish so I am looking forward to seeing him when he is feeling better because I thought that when we needed him, he gave us that go-forward.

“The Ospreys had a great win last week and their marquee signing George North played a big role in that. Ross didn’t score but had that influence for us all week.”

 

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