Dragons back row Toby Faletau will be back in a Dragons shirt on Saturday as the men of Gwent take on Munster at Musgrave Park (7.30pm)
Faletau had been selected with the Welsh Six Nations squad but withdrew with an ankle injury.
“It’s obviously great to have Toby back in contention,” said Dragons Forwards Coach Danny Wilson. “Toby’s presence gives us a really physical back row, which you need playing a pack like Munster’s.
“Lewis Evans has been outstanding at 7, but he has played a lot of rugby recently. He’s had to play through a couple of bumps but now that Toby’s back we are able to take the pressure of Lewis a bit.
“Some of the boys have been playing a lot of rugby over the last few weeks, partly because of injuries. We have a squad with a lot of competition which means we can ,mix things up a bit without the standard dropping.”
Steve Jones will lead the side with the absence of Luke Charteris (rested) whilst wing Matthew Pewtner gets his first start since September, rewarding his recent form in the Premiership.
“Matthew Pewtner’s been playing really well for Newport and deserves this opportunity,” said Wilson. “He’s developed better game awareness and has carried well and been making breaks for Newport. He’s had some stiff competition with Aled
Brew playing really well this season so Matthew will have to take his chance on Saturday which I am confident he will do.”
With Munster’s strong form up front, the improvement in the Dragon’s pack work will certainly be important.
“The scrum has gone well recently, we’re starting to develop some depth in props which is crucial to our game,” said Wilson “We’ve changed the way we train with scrummaging this season which the boys have been really receptive to the increase in live scrummaging this season.
“Although it’s a bit taxing physically, it’s worth it for the improvement in matchday performance.”
Dragons Team for Munster
15. Will Harries, 14. Adam Hughes, 13. Tom Riley, 12. Pat Leach, 11. Matthew Pewtner, 10. Jason Tovey; 9. Wayne Evans;
1. Hugh Gustafson, 2. Steve Jones (Capt.), 3. Ben Castle, 4. Scott Morgan, 5. Rob Sidoli, 6. Andrew Coombs, 7. Toby Faletau, 8. Joe Bearman,
16. L.loyd Burns, 17. Pat Palmer, 18. Phil Price, 19. Adam Jones, 20. Lewis Evans, 21. Ashley Smith, 22. Jon Evans, 23. Matthew Jones,
Luke Charteris, Lewis Robling
The game will be shown live in the Rodney Parade clubhouse with drinks at international prices.