Press Pass with Duncan Hodge

Press Pass with Duncan Hodge

Get the latest from Attack Coach Duncan Hodge as he spoke with press ahead of Sunday afternoon's Guinness PRO14 match-up with Dragons at Principality Stadium.

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On injuries ahead of Sunday

“Andrew [Davidson] certainly won’t play. Not sure about Bill [Mata] and Lee-Roy [Atalifo]. Andrew is definitely struggling and Charlie Savala will struggle as well.”

On Charlie Savala's debut against Cardiff Blues

“It was a big ask of Charlie. I think I’m right in saying he played his last 80 minutes of rugby at school two years ago.

"To be chucked in at the deep end like that I think what you saw is that he’s a very good athlete. He’s still got a bit to learn, obviously, but I think it was pretty positive, wasn’t it?

“He did a lot of good things in the game, showed some real nice touches and got the team going, especially in the first half an hour.

"Look, it’s just great to have another 10 be exposed to a game at that level. I thought he did really well and that’s not just a reflection of what happened in the game, it was during the week in training as well. It was really positive.

“He’s just not played at this level and the skill-set he’s had for the last couple of years playing rugby league is quite different. Some of the skills are the same but the game is very different.

“It was a big ask for him, he came through really well and I’ve got no doubt he’ll keep progressing.

"In an ideal world he needs a pre-season to focus on some of the basics of union at this level. It was challenging but he responded really well and what we saw on Monday night was really positive.”

On Jaco van der Walt's availability

“Hopefully he’ll be available for us. I can tell you he’s not on the flight [to Paris] because I’ve seen him!”

On Scotland players coming through the French test unscathed

“It’s always the same. You watch the whole of the Six Nations and part of you is watching Scotland as a nation and the other part is watching your players and just praying they don’t get injured. And that’ll be no different on Friday night.

“Ideally we want everyone available to play in a huge game on the Sunday after. The slight upside is that Scotland play on a Friday and the Racing game is on a Sunday so there’s a nine-day gap.

“So the Scotland guys can get Saturday and Sunday and potentially Monday to rest and recover and come in fresh on the Monday/Tuesday and ready to go.”

On how the team are approaching the Dragons clash

“The focus will be on whoever is picked playing to the best of their ability. We didn’t deserve to win the game on Monday night but there was a lot of good stuff there and in a lot of the stats we came out pretty well.

“We got burnt on a couple of the tries and we didn’t quite convert our opportunities but there was a lot of good stuff in there.

"Whoever gets the chance - and there will be a couple of new faces on Sunday because we’re very short on numbers - it’s a massive opportunity for them to put a marker down and keep progressing.”

On doing Glasgow Warriors a favour

“We’re just focusing on getting a result down there. Dragons have a huge carrot [in trying to overhaul Glasgow] and our carrot is just to keep progressing some of the stuff we’ve been doing in the last month.”

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