12/06/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/06/2018 03:26

The 'underdog' prop ready to hit century

Prop Fairbrother will make his 100th appearance for Dragons if selected for the European Challenge Cup Round 3 clash with Northampton Saints on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

The 27-year-old Torpoint-born front row - who dubs himself 'Cornish Welsh' after his spell in Wales - has revealed his delight at the potential of hitting the memorable milestone.

And the popular prop has spoken about how he is relishing a senior role in the squad and the continued battle for a place in the pack.

'Did I think I would get to 100? Honestly, probably not,' smiled Fairbrother.

'I've had an up and down career at Dragons. The first season I was on the fire and played loads. Second season I didn't play at all, but then got myself back in and last season I played lots again.

'Getting to 100 games is brilliant and something I am really happy with.

'I feel I have become a senior player now. I joined as a young guy and carried on through. I feel like that now and I know I have got to keep going because one bad game and you are out.

'I'm Cornish Welsh now,' he added. 'It feels like home here. My partner is settled, we've bought a house and have a baby who is nearly one now. I'm rooted here and really want to start winning.

'The season has not gone too bad for me on a personal level. I've had a lot of game time, which is nice.

'It's unfortunate the recent injury to Leon (Brown), but for me it just means I have got to step it up and keep carrying the flag.

'This is my fifth season and every year there are a couple of new tightheads floating around. But I'm still here. Competition is good and I've been happy with my form.

'I like the challenge, being the slight underdog. This year we had people like Ryan Bevington, who is an international, Aaron Jarvis, who is an international, and these guys are so fit when they come in.

'I realised I had to step it up and that is what I have done. I have that underdog in me and I enjoy the challenge.

'I looked at how fit and mobile they are. It made sense to lose a couple of kilos and the fitness has followed. I feel better for it. Clean eating, extra reps and it helps with the GPS scores - they check everything and the stats don't lie!'

Dragons heads to the East Midlands in England at the weekend looking to respond to the heavy defeat to league and European champions Leinster last time out.

And Fairbrother knows the size of the test ahead at Franklin's Gardens.

'It's a massive challenge and a different challenge,' he said. 'It's an English pack so the scrum, maul, pick and go… it's all up front. We have got to step up to it.

'It is a savage sport. You get judged on that two or three hours on a Saturday. So much work is going on in the background, it's hard sometimes,' he added.

'So much goes into it. So much emotion, so much work rate and the culture is brilliant and the environment is brilliant.

'You get judged on those couple of hours, but we will keep pushing for those performances and wins.'