Henry Paul hoping for first win at home

Matt Jones - Editor 20:51 28/09/2016
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Paul suffered defeat in his first game.

Dragons were soundly beaten 51-10 in Bahrain a week ago, but Paul and his coaching staff believe some fine-tuning is in order as opposed to sweeping changes.

The hosts only led 20-10 with an hour played, although Louie Tonkin’s men blew Dragons away in the last quarter of the game.

“We were given a lesson last weekend by Bahrain on how to control the tempo of a game and when given chances in good field position how to convert those chances into points,” said former league and union star Paul.

“Taking nothing away from Bahrain, they had good defensive line discipline and maintained solid pressure in defence, but we also helped them with too many unforced errors in poor field position.

“It was a very different scene in the first 10 minutes, we were controlling possession and took a well-deserved lead from a well-worked line-out rolling maul.

“But from the resulting kick-off the side struggled to handle the steamy conditions while Bahrain steadily grew in confidence and ran riot late on.”

The good news for Dragons is it is just the start of the campaign and they have a chance to get last week out of their system with the visit of Al Ain Amblers.

“We will look to right a few aspects of our play,” added Paul. “Looking down 1 to 22 on the teamsheet we are an experienced UAE team with attacking potential yet to be realised.

“We’ll hope that was our one bad game of the season because we were competitive for 65 minutes of that match until some uncharacteristic sloppiness crept in.”

He has warned his side against underestimating their visitors from the Garden City though, who lost 45-3 to Abu Dhabi Saracens although that bizarrely turned into a forfeit and only a 20-0 loss after they were found to have fielded two underage players.

“Al Ain are a proud team and if any team in this league underestimates any other team you can come unstuck quickly,” said Paul.

“We’ll approach this game as any other, be best prepared and sharpen our game, we have lots to prove to ourselves and each other.”

Amblers head coach Niekie Van Blerk is not reading too much into Dragons’ opening defeat out west.

“It is always difficult traveling to Bahrain so we do not take too much out of their loss last weekend,” said the South African.

“Henry Paul would have taken many things away from the loss and has the ability to turn it around in a short space of time. Dragons will be well prepared, very competive in set phases and tenatious at the break down, and we will have our work cut out to keep them in check.”

Injuries are a concern for Van Blerk, with first choice prop Kitione Vatunitu out with a dislocated shoulder and two second team props also on the sidelines.

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