The Dragons and the Waratahs put the age previous debate of which is the superior code to the take a look at in a fiery opposed coaching session on the NSW Centre of Excellence in Daceyville.
The sight of Dragons lock Jack Bird and Waratahs back-rower Lachie Swinton getting concerned in some argy-bargy and little bit of push and shove, confirmed the aggressive juices have been flowing when the 2 golf equipment went head-to-head in a a spirited coaching run.
However, any Dragons gamers trying to make the code swap to play second row in rugby union have some work to do on their lineouts, after some comical makes an attempt at occasions, that have been met with roars of laughter from each squads on the sidelines.
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Still, the cross-training train devised by Dragons coach Anthony Griffin and Waratahs counterpart Darren Coleman was a welcome change for the gamers, who’ve been slugging it out with conditioning drills early within the 2023 pre-season.
Dragons prop Aaron Woods admitted his facet had some work to do on their defence in rugby union after some gamers forgot they solely wanted to retreat behind the lock’s ft, fairly than the ten metres they’re accustomed to in league.
“It was good fun today,” Woods mentioned.
“They were just different. The games and the styles are different.
“I think the first game we played was the union one and we didn’t adapt to the rules and it took us a while to get going because we were going back 10 metres and you only had to go back one.
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“They played to their strengths and I think Kurtley Beale showed us up a bit there.
“They are both different toughness and fitness, but it was really good fun and we really enjoyed it actually.”
Days after Dragons teammates Zac Lomax and Talatau Amone received right into a scuffle at coaching, Woods couldn’t resist a dig at Bird over his run-in with Swinton, who towers over him in stature.
“It got a bit feisty in the opposed session there, with the big fella (Swinton) in the middle for the Waratahs, but it was really good,” Woods mentioned.
“Jack Bird has always got that push and shove in him, so it was expected.
“We have had a bit of that fisty-cuffs at training lately.”
Pressed on the place he was throughout each the bust-up between Lomax and Amone and the battle between Bird and Swinton, Woods performed the diplomat.
“I’m a lover not a fighter,” Woods mentioned.
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Woods defined that in a aggressive setting like skilled sport, gamers coming collectively at coaching is nothing new.
“When you do a bit of contact some guys don’t like getting hit harder than others and young blokes want to show up old blokes and old blokes want to show up young blokes,” Woods mentioned.
“You never want to take a backward step and today was league vs union and union vs league, so it is really good to see the competitiveness is there.
“But at the end of the day we shake hands and move on and we talk about how silly we were on the field and muck around after.
“We really appreciated the Waratahs taking us into their inner sanctum and it was a really good day.”
Woods believes there are areas round composure underneath stress and adapting when issues don’t go to plan that the Dragons can take from the Waratahs.
“They showed us a few things that we can work on and hopefully we showed them a few as well,” Woods mentioned.
“I think we can learn from their composure and when we were learning a different game it took us a while to adapt to it.
“It is probably a thing as a club in times in games when things go wrong it takes us a while to adapt, so if we can move on quickly and take our opportunities it could be a lot better for us.”
However, 31-year-old Woods stopped wanting contemplating a late profession code swap to the 15-man sport.
“No not at all,” Woods mentioned.
“I’ll stick to league. There is too many rules in union.
“I only found out if you knock the ball down you get 10 in the bin, so I won’t be participating in that.”
Dragons ahead Jack de Belin revealed he performed rugby union up till he was 18 and loved the possibility to stroll down reminiscence lane towards the Waratahs.
“It was so fun, it takes me back to my rugby union days,” de Belin mentioned.
“I used to play rugby before league, so it was really good fun to test ourselves against the Waratahs.
“I used to play rugby union when I was 12 or 13 on the Sunday and soccer on Saturday.
“Then I loved rugby union, so I started playing rugby league on the Saturday and I ditched soccer.
“I played rugby union up until I started at the Dragons. I used to play at St Gregory’s Campbelltown up until I was 18.”
Off-contract in 2024, de Belin was pressed if the rival code was an choice to bookend his profession.
“You never know, but my heart is in rugby league, so 13-man code for sure,” de Belin mentioned.
After a gruelling begin to the Dragons’ pre-season, de Belin mentioned it was good to interrupt issues up by taking over some new faces within the Waratahs on the coaching paddock.
However, given the scale of among the monsters within the Waratahs line-up, he wouldn’t need to do it each week.
“With the combined games that was just competing and really getting the heart rate up,” de Belin mentioned.
“It was good to play against a set of fresh boys because we are obviously playing against the Dragons boys every day. It was nice to come up against some boys from a different code.
“There are a couple of big boys for sure and they look like they live in the gym, so I could probably take a few tips from them and learn how to lift a bit better.”
Despite the age previous rivalry between the 2 sports activities, de Belin would love nothing greater than for each codes to thrive within the Australian sporting panorama for years to return.
“At the end of the day our games are very similar and you want to see them both doing really well,” de Belin mentioned.
“Especially for someone like me who grew up playing both.
“I’ve got a real soft spot for rugby union, so I’d love to see both rugby league and rugby union really thrive in Australia.”