The Dragons will have 2 new faces in the dressing room on Friday night as they take on Ulster at Rodney Parade (7:05pm)
Springbok speedster Tonderai Chavhanga is set to start for the region on the wing and the Premiership will be providing another regional debut as Bedwas tighthead Kieron Jenkins joins Pontypool’s Geraint O’Driscoll on the bench.
“The injury problems in the front row, particularly at tight-head have given us a chance to bring in a couple of Premiership players this week to train with the region, and boost their own experience,” said Dragons Head Coach Darren Edwards.
“As a region we want to concentrate on developing Welsh players both through our age-grade set-up but also through the Premiership. Dan Way played possibly his best rugby ever out in Connacht and is another example of the talent we have within our region.
“Obviously there will be teething problems as these new guys get their first few games under their belts but by giving these guys the opportunity now we are potentially building a whole team of Faletau and Lydiates for the seasons to come at Rodney Parade.”
And Edwards is inevitably excited about Chavhanga’s debut tomorrow.
“It’s been great to finally have Tondi in our ranks. It’s been a long process to get him here but the buzz he has created in the team is really encouraging. Not only does he have a speed that is well-documented but he has a great understanding of the game which will stand him in good stead. He is also very hard-working and has fitted into the team really well. Our dressing room cohesion is a vital part of rugby at the Dragons and Chavhanga will certainly add to that”
Newport Gwent Dragons team for Ulster
Martyn Thomas, Tonderai Chavhanga, Tom Riley, Ashley Smith, Mike Poole, Jason Tovey, Wayne Evans, Nathan Williams, Tom Willis (c), Nathan Buck, Adam Jones, Rob Sidoli, Lewis Evans, Gavin Thomas, Andrew Coombs.
Rhys Buckley, Phil Price, Kieron Jenkins* Darren Waters, Jevon Groves, Joe Bedford, Geraint O’Driscoll*, Matthew Jones.
Premiership Team: Pontypool
Date Of Birth: 17/03/1988 (23)
Place Of Birth: Bridgend
Height: 181cm / 5'11"
Weight: 82kg / 12st 13lbs
Premiership Team: Bedwas
Date Of Birth: 17/02/1987 (24)
Place Of Birth: Rhondda
Height: 188cm / 6'2"
Weight: 122kg / 19st 3lbs