Ashton Hewitt: Dragons wing regrets concussion 'wrong move'

Dragons wing Ashton Hewitt is hoping to make an impact against Ospreys on New Year's Eve
Dragons wing Ashton Hewitt is hoping to make an impact against Ospreys on New Year's Eve

Dragons wing Ashton Hewitt has admitted he did not handle concussion problems properly in early 2017, for fear of jeopardising his Wales place.

Hewitt, 23, who is still uncapped, had been named in Wales' Six Nations squad.

"In that period, where I thought I'd be OK and kept my mouth shut, it was the wrong move," he said.

Hewitt did not play for the remainder of the 2016-17 season, after his appearance in the New Year's Day defeat against the Ospreys.

The Newport-born winger scored five tries for Dragons in 12 appearances in the first half of the campaign to earn recognition from Wales interim coach Rob Howley - but took very little part in training because of his injury.

"I had a bit of a knock and I didn't think anything of it, so I probably didn't notify who I should have done about it, being such an important time of the season," said Hewitt.

"I didn't want anything to hold me back [with Wales], but with head injuries you don't know when you're going to be right. I paid the price, but I've learned my lesson from that."

Hewitt now has four tries from his 12 appearances in the 2017-18 season, ahead of Dragons' next home encounter with Ospreys on New Year's Day.

Pitch perfect

He hopes the improved pitch at Rodney Parade will make life easier for wingers in mid-winter, after the New Year's Day fixture in 2017 was played in mud-bath conditions, with Ospreys grinding out a 10-0 win.

"The New Year's Day game I'm sure many of us would like to forget, it wasn't the best conditions and it didn't turn out to be the best game for either side or the fans," he told BBC Sport Wales.

Ospreys wing Jeff Hassler will be hoping to provide a cutting edge at Rodney Parade
Ospreys wing Jeff Hassler will be hoping to provide a cutting edge at Rodney Parade

"[The new pitch] makes a great difference, everyone's boots and hands aren't filled with sand this year, so fingers crossed we carry on getting the ball to the wings and getting the wings to score tries."

Weather for wings?

Hewitt could be up against Ospreys' hard-running Canadian international Jeff Hassler, who also hopes that the weather conditions will be more favourable for wings than Boxing Day's torrential rain in south Wales.

"When you get high balls coming at you in that kind of weather all game it's tough," Hassler said.

"You're not going to catch every one, so you just dust them off, keep playing and try to keep warm!"

The Dragons-Ospreys match comes off the back of defeats for both sides, the Gwent team losing 22-17 at home to Cardiff Blues, while Ospreys arrive at Rodney Parade on the back of a last-move 12-9 reverse at Scarlets.

Hassler does not believe the defeat has cost Ospreys their regained momentum following the European double over Northampton Saints.

"We did have a tough start and a lot of people looking in from the outside were asking questions, but I think you can see from the performances we put together that the team's still hanging in there."

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