South Wales Echo

There’s no magic cure, for problems warns Ryan


BULLS ............................... 55 DRAGONS ........................ 20

DEAN Ryan has insisted there is no magic wand he can wave that will reverse the Dragons’ fortunes after their defeat to the Bulls.

The Welsh side were understren­gth and actually fared better than most expected in Pretoria, despite comfortabl­y coming off second best.

Ryan insisted he was proud of his players’ efforts given the reality of the resources available to both sides.

“At the moment, we can only give a really good account of ourselves,” said director of rugby Ryan.

“We were really disappoint­ed that wasn’t the case in Munster and we’ve been under pressure for a long time. But that’s all we can do.

“There isn’t a magic wand that closes the gap between an internatio­nal front row and a 22-year-old trying to learn his trade.

“Internally in Wales, it’s not actually that beneficial to developmen­t. It puts players under a huge amount of pressure.

“My job is to keep that stable. Will Reed as a 21-year-old comes on as a 10 today. He’s only ever played age group and the Premiershi­p. That’s a huge jump for him and I’ve just got to keep that stable.”

Things looked ominous from the start and it took the hosts just four minutes to get their first score. They got easy access to the Dragons 22 through ill-discipline and made them pay when No. 8 Arno Botha burrowed his way over.

Chris Smith converted and clipped over a penalty five minutes later.

For the next 15 minutes, the Dragons contained their hosts and blew a handful of opportunit­ies. Sam Davies got his side on the board after 24 minutes with a penalty when Gerhard Steenekamp wandered offside, but then came the onslaught.

After a good carry from hooker Johan Grobbelaar, Marcell Coetzee broke up the middle of the field from 30 metres before popping a pass to centre Lionel Mapoe, who strolled under the sticks.

Two minutes later, a Gonzalo Bertranou box-kick went loose and was scooped up by Embrose Papier, who broke clear before feeding Kurt-Lee Arendse on his inside for a simple try.

And the Bulls wrapped up the bonus point two minutes before the break. More ill-discipline gave the hosts a dangerous position and hooker Grobbelaar was at the back of a maul that rumbled over the line.

But the Dragons did take something into the sheds. Ollie Griffiths fed Bertranou, who sent it wide to Davies. The fly-half then fed it inside to Rio Dyer, who screeched through a hole in the defence to score.

Ryan’s side came flying out of the traps in the second half when Jared Rosser finished after an intercept from fly-half Davies.

But dangerman Arendse was in for his second just minutes later. The Dragons kicked loosely to him and he shook off one tackle before breaking into open field. The fullback then skinned Bertranou to score from 60 metres.

The Dragons weren’t going down quietly. In the 52nd minute, the ball squirted out the side of a breakdown and Jordan Williams sprinted up the near touchline before putting Davies over.

The hosts hit back two minutes later when Marcel Coetzee burrowed under the posts from close range.

Mapoe added his second try of the match, with Zak Burger also crossing in the final quarter to compound the Dragons’ woes.

BULLS – Tries: Botha, Mapoe (2), Arendse (2), Grobbelaar, Coetzee, Burger. Cons: Smith (5), Steyn. Pen: Smith.

DRAGONS – Tries: Dyer, Rosser, Davies. Con: Davies. Pen: Davies.

 ?? ?? Ollie Griffiths is tackled
Ollie Griffiths is tackled

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