After claiming the scalp of the ever-impressive Ulster in the opening week of the Pro 12 season, before narrowly missing out on a draw in Edinburgh, the Dragons bounced back with a thrilling home victory over the Llanelli Scarlets at Rodney Parade. 

Finishing one from bottom last season signalled bleak times for the Gwent region, but the statement of intent put down in Friday night's victory suggests otherwise.

A young and exciting bak line, notably Jack Dixon and Ross Wardle in the centres, showed their quality as well as potential against a Scarlets set of backs featuring internationals in the form of Rhys Priestland, Scott Williams, Liam Williams and Lions hero Jonathan Davies.

However, the notable performance of the night came from none of the above, nor from returning Dragons and Lions number-eight Toby Faletau, but from recently capped Welshman Andrew Coombs.

A workhorse in the 'engine room' of the pack, Coombs tirelessly puts his body on the line for his club and is pivotal to the belief and growing maturity of a youthful Dragons squad.

His leadership skills as captain coincide with the workmanlike example he sets down, which his colleagues have no choice but to follow, in turn leading to what looks like a region now on the verge of success that has eluded the club since its beginning. 

At 28-years-old Coombs is one of the older members of a young, thriving squad, yet he is two years younger than another Gwent man who showed his true quality in Friday night's league fixture - Richie Rees.

The experienced scrum-half whom was unlucky not to reach double figures in international caps during his prime (only kept out by the imperious Mike Phillips) can be described with many words to label his return to Monmouthshire, yet the one that stands out is 'resurgent'.

Revived from his fairly quiet spell in Scotland, Rees is now marshalling a young back-line alongside the returned Jason Tovey, which he appears to be able to get the best out of. Be it Jack Dixon, Ross Wardle or speedster Hallam Amos, all seem to be thriving under the revitalised Richie Rees. 

It may well be too soon to tell, but personally as an avid Dragons fan the excitement is building with every game played.

Consistency is now key, as are retained health and fitness, but who knows what could lay on the horizon for the Newport Gwent Dragons organisation? I will tell you one thing, I'm sure that for every Dragons player that horizon is looking increasingly brighter.

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Topics:
#Wales Rugby
#Rugby Union