Dragons hooker Steve Jones will lead the Dragons side in his 170th appearance for the region as they take on RaboDirect newcomers Zebre on tomorrow (Rodney Parade, 7pm)
New Dragons signings Dan Evans, Tom Prydie and Ian Nimmo are all set to start with Jevon Groves joining Dan Lydiate and Toby Faletau in the back row.
Hugh Gustafson is set to make his Pro12 debut at hooker from the bench after switching positions last season where he is joined by injury returnees Ashley Smith and Adam Jones.
On lining up against a new side to open the competition, Dragons Head Coach Darren Edwards said “Playing the unknown does cause problems but it also enables us to focus on ourselves and our own game. It’s what we’ve done through this pre-season – especially leading into the London Irish game – we didn’t know how they would play but we focussed on our own game and produced a strong performance and a great result.
“Zebre is a team with more internationals than the Dragons and a great deal of experience in the side. They have a very good support structure around them and are heavily supported by the Italian Federation so they are definitely a stronger side than many would give them credit for.”
If you buy today, tickets for the game start at just £10 for adults and £2 for children and are available online at www.newportgwentdragons.com, via our Ticket Office 01633 670 690 or at the ground. (Advance prices available before matchday only)
Newport Gwent Dragons side for Zebre
Dan Evans, Will Harries, Pat Leach, Andy Tuilagi, Tom Prydie, Steffan Jones; Wayne Evans; Phil Price,
Steve Jones, Dan Way, Ian Nimmo, Andrew Coombes, Dan Lydiate, Jevon Groves, Toby Faletau
Hugh Gustafson, Nathan Williams, Nathan Buck, Adam Jones, Tom Brown, Jonathan Evans, Lewis Robling, Ashley Smith
Referee: George Clancy (IRFU 48th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Neil Hennessy (WRU) Jason Langdon (WRU)