Newport Gwent Dragons centre Ashley Smith captains the Dragons against the Scarlets on Friday night (7:05pm) in the RaboDirect PRO12 on his 100th appearance for the region.
Ashley’s first Dragons appearance came in 2005 when he came on as a replacement against Worcester in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, he has since gone on to score 13 tries for the Dragons.
There are 4 changes to the Dragons’ starting line-up with coach Darren Edwards happy to be able to name an unchanged back line. All 4 changes are in the forward pack with 3 of them enforced by Wales International call ups.
Rhys Buckley comes in for Lloyd Burns at hooker, Andrew Coombs replaces Lewis Evans and Toby Faletau’s place is taken by Tom Brown, after his man of the match performance for Newport against Llandovery last week. The other change comes at prop where Phil Price starts ahead of Nathan Williams.
The Dragons lie 11th in the RaboDirect PRO12 table, 7 points and 3 places behind the Scarlets in 8th and will be looking to close the gap as they chase a place in the Heineken Cup for next season.
Both sides come off impressive European wins on the weekend, the Dragons winning at home to Perpignan and the Scarlets securing an away victory at last season’s Heineken Cup runners-up Northampton.
The Scarlets are unbeaten in their last seven matches in all competitions and have won the last six PRO12 matches between the two sides. However, the last match between the sides was in last season’s LV= Cup when the Dragons triumphed 26-9 at Rodney Parade.
Newport Gwent Dragons
Martyn Thomas, Tonderai Chavhanga, Adam Hughes, Ashley Smith (c), Aled Brew, Jason Tovey, Wayne Evans, Phil Price, Rhys Buckley, Dan Way, Adam Jones, Rob Sidoli, Andrew Coombs, Gavin Thomas, Tom Brown
Steve Jones, Nathan Williams, Nathan Buck, Scott Morgan, Jevon Groves, Joe Bedford, Lewis Robling, Steffan Jones