Nic Cudd interview: Dragons target Champions Cup spot next season

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Nic Cudd interview: Dragons target Champions Cup spot next season
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - JANUARY 17: Nic Cudd of Newport Gwent Dragons during the European Rugby Challenge Cup match between Newcastle Falcons and Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingston Park on January 17, 2015 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Dragons are targeting a Champions Cup spot next season, according to flanker Nic Cudd. He spoke with Last Word on Rugby this week.

The Welsh regions have had a disappointing campaign in head coach Bernard Jackman’s first season. The region sit bottom of Conference B in the Guinness Pro14. Only two victories from 18 games has not been good enough to secure a place in the Champions Cup 2018/19. That is something Nic Cudd and the Dragon’s players want to put right next season.

To repay faithful fans, who have stuck with the team in good times and bad. “There is a feel of frustration around the camp because I don’t think anybody is happy with the way the season has gone” Cudd said.

Dragons target Champions Cup Spot

“Our main target is to definitely try and get into one of those champions cup spaces next season. If we can improve our performances then we won’t be a million miles away as there are so many places available. But that is definitely the target next season.

“Hopefully we can show improvement and improve our league standings as well and give back to the supporters.”

“The faith they’ve showed in us and they come see us week in and week out, we need to give them something to cheer about.”

Nic Cudd on Bernard Jackman

Dragons head coach Bernard Jackman has come under some serious pressure to turn results around next season, following their current poor campaign. Dragons fans weren’t expecting much this season with it being seen as a transitional year, but none of them expected it to be worse than last season.

Cudd believes the Dragons have been unlucky with injuries and Jackman still has the full support of the players. It has been a bit of a transition year and we have had a lot of injuries and bad injuries, a lot of those players were experienced or first team players so it has been difficult,” Cudd said.

“Bernard definitely has the boys backing and we are all hoping that next season can be a lot better than it has been this season in terms of performances and results. We’ve shown flashes of performances this season but, we need to do it on a far more consistent basis next year.”

Update on knee injury

Cudd has missed the entire season due to a knee injury suffered in a pre season friendly against Glasgow, and has been severely missed in the Dragons pack. His excellent defensive work rate and ability at the breakdown is difficult to replicate.

The 29 year-old is looking forward to being back next season (2018/19) and gave an update on his injury. “Recovery is going really well, everything has gone to plan up until now. I’m hoping to be fully fit for the start of pre season and then be fit to start next season.

“The target is to try and get back in the team. The thing is when you’re injured you give other boys opportunities and fair play some of them have stepped up and done well and I know its going to be tough competition for places” Cudd continued. “That is a good thing really for the Dragons.

“It is creating that depth and hopefully standards will then improve and the team performances will improve next season.”

“But my target is to get back in the team and take it from there really. Hopefully my knee will be okay, it might take a few performances and a few games to get back into form after being out for so long, but hopefully it won’t take too long.”

International Ambitions

Cudd has been a consistent performer for the Dragons since joining in 2012 and has been linked with a potential international call up in the past. The former Scarlet hasn’t given up hope of a potential Welsh cap in the future, if he can get back to his best.

“It is always an ambition to play for your country. I will never write it off, however old i am, but first of all I just want to get back fully fit and hopefully the knee will be 100% and I can work on my actual performances, then you never know.

“Some boys have actually been having opportunities now of late which never seemed like the case before. Hopefully I can come back, make a mark and play well. And there is always that chance to represent Wales.”

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The Dragons now wait for Round 19, when they visit Stadio Monigo, to play Benetton.

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