Newport Gwent Dragons have named a twenty-seven man squad for the festive fixture on Monday 27 December against rivals the Cardiff Blues, with Head Coach Paul Turner able to call on several fit-again players.
New father Matthew Watkins returns to the squad for the first time this season, having recovered following stomach surgery, whilst fellow new parent Tom Willis is also included as captain. Jason Tovey is back, having missed the return trip to Wasps last Sunday having been injured in the previous week’s European clash in Cardiff.
Welsh internationals Luke Charteris and Danny Lydiate, who made their returns from the bench at Adams Park last weekend, are both named among the forwards. Will Harries has recovered from the ‘flu which kept him out of the two Wasps fixtures, and he joins another international wing, new father Aled Brew, in the Dragons squad.
BACKS: Pat Leach, Will Harries, Aled Brew, Adam Hughes, Ashley Smith, Tom Cheeseman, Tom Riley, Matthew Watkins, Jason Tovey, Mathew Jones, Wayne Evans, Jonathan Evans.
FORWARDS: Hugh Gustafson, Phil Price, Tom Willis (c), Steve Jones, Ben Castle, Pat Palmer, Adam Jones, Luke Charteris, Scott Morgan, Rob Sidoli, Gavin Thomas, Danny Lydiate, Robin Sowden Taylor, Toby Faletau, Lewis Evans.
The region is appealing for the help of as many fans as possible to clear the snow from the Rodney Parade pitch on Boxing Day, to ensure the Blues game will be able to go ahead on Monday afternoon.
“The snow is acting as insulation and keeping the pitch from freezing,” said Stadium Manager Mark Jones. “Because temperatures are set to drop to -7 on Friday and Saturday night, clearing the snow too early will run a high risk of the pitch freezing.
“The ideal situation is that we leave the snow where it is until Sunday and clear it once the temperature has come up, but this is going to be a mammoth task.”
“We estimate that there will be about 500 tonnes of snow to be shifted, and therefore we need volunteers in their hundreds. We know this is a lot to ask of the Rodney faithful who already do so much for the boys, but we want this game to go ahead. The best chance the boys have of beating the Blues is on their own patch in front of the Rodney Parade supporters.”
Anyone who would be able to give up some time on Boxing Day is asked to let us know, either by posting on our Facebook, by emailing email@example.com or telephoning the club on 01633 674953. We will be starting at 9am.
Supporters are asked to bring as many shovels, wheelbarrows and pairs of hands possible. Hot drinks and food will be provided. Our sponsors Worthington’s are offering a free pint to all adults who can help. Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated!