Dragons back-row Ollie Griffiths believes the region has a huge future ahead of them as they look ahead to next season.
Prior to lockdown the Dragons were already showing significant improvement, having matched their win total from a year prior in the Pro14 and returned to the knockout stages of the European Challenge Cup for the first time since 2015-16.
Ollie Griffiths on signing an extension and his international goals
After seeing the club’s progression first-hand Griffiths signed an extension to remain with the club. The 25-year-old was more than happy to commit his future to the Gwent region.
“I feel we have made a lot of progress this year under Dean Ryan, a few signings from last year have helped us kick on a bit. I feel we have been progressing well the last six months or so.
“I’ve been here since I was 16/17, it’s my local region, so to play there is great really.” Griffiths added.”
Now that Griffiths’ future is secure, he can focus on achieving his personal goals. One of which is a return to the Wales national team to add to his solitary cap so far.
“I’d love to be involved, but obviously it is a case of just training well, week in and week out. The competition in the back row is just unbelievable really so all I can do when I do play is put my best foot forward,” the Welshman said.
Getting into the Wales team is no easy feat, especially as far as the back-row is concerned. With the likes of Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty, Aaron Wainwright, Josh Navidi and Taulupe Faletau to name a few all competing for three starting spots.
Griffiths believes staying healthy will be key to achieving his goals for the national team.
“It’s a tough one really. If you look at the backrow everyone offers something different, they’re all different players. I think for me it is just a case of staying fit which is easier said than done and when I do play, I just have to play the best that I can.” The 25-year-old said.
Griffiths reserves special praise for head coach Dean Ryan
Regardless of what happens ahead of the resumption of the 2019-20 Pro14 campaign, Griffiths believes Dragons’ head coach Dean Ryan is a key reason for the upturn in form.
“He has been great. He’s filled the boys with confidence, has given a lot of youngsters some chances and a lot of them have done great. The likes of Josh Reynolds and Taine Basham played quite a few games last year and been great this year.
“A lot of boys have been given chances this year and done great to be fair. I think Dean has been good for us, he has just given us a bit of belief that we have needed.” Griffiths said.
In the past two years the club have overhauled their squad, bringing in the likes of Ross Moriarty, Aaron Jarvis, Sam Davies and promoting numerous academy stars into the first team setup, namely Basham.
Griffiths thinks the addition of Davies has been instrumental in helping the younger players in the squad.
“Yeah, it’s always good to have guys with experience especially with being quite a young team. Sam Davies coming in for this season has been great, he’s played a number of Welsh games and god knows how many Pro14 games. So, to have a fly half with experience like that makes a big difference,” Griffiths added.
If Griffiths can remain fit the sky is the limit for the 25-year-old.
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