Newport Gwent Dragons head coach, Kingsley Jones, has named his side to take on the current Guinness PRO12 champions this Friday night, KO 19:15 at Rodney Parade.
The Men of Gwent are looking to take away the win from the current Champions, meaning the Welsh Region could jump Connacht in the PRO12 table.
Dragons lock and vice-captain of the Region, Nick Crosswell commented: “We can jump Connacht with a win and can then look at the next team. A win would be massive for morale and jumping ahead of Connacht would be massive.
“Connacht will be disappointed with a few of their performances coming off winning the Pro12 but they are dangerous with a really tight pack,” he said.
“They do the basics well – they carry hard, clean our rucks hard and tackle hard. We are after every win we can get and know we have to dig deep.”
He continued: “Week in, week out we play some good rugby but haven’t got the results. We don’t make any excuses, we put our hands up to what we have lacked and where we’ve got to be better.
“We had an awesome result against a top French side in Brive last time we were at home (a win of 37-16) and we love being at Rodney Parade. It’s good to be back in front of our home crowd after a tough couple of weeks.”
Fullback Tom Prydie retains his position in the back three and is joined by wingers Pat Howard and Ashton Hewitt. The centre partnership remains unchanged with Sam Beard and Jack Dixon getting the nod. Fly-half Angus O’Brien returns from illness to replace Nick Macleod, and is joined in the halfbacks by scrum-half Sarel Pretorius.
The front row has one change made to it as loose head prop Phil Price joins hooker Thomas Rhys Thomas and tight head prop Brok Harris. The second row also retain their positions with Nick Crosswell and Rynard Landman at lock, with the back row consisting of flankers Lewis Evans and Ollie Griffiths and number 8 Ed Jackson.
The replacements bench sees Sam Hobbs, Nic Cudd and Tavis Knoyle join Rhys Buckley, Lloyd Fairbrother, Matthew Screech, Geraint Rhys Jones and Adam Warren.
Newport Gwent Dragons Team to face Connacht:
15 Tom Prydie, 14 Pat Howard, 13 Sam Beard, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Ashton Hewitt, 10 Angus O’Brien, 9 Sarel Pretorius; 1 Phil Price, 2 Thomas Rhys Thomas, 3 Brok Harris, 4 Nick Crosswell, 5 Rynard Landman, 6 Lewis Evans ©, 7 Ollie Griffiths, 8 Ed Jackson.
Replacements: Rhys Buckley, Sam Hobbs, Lloyd Fairbrother, Matthew Screech, Nic Cudd, Tavis Knoyle, Geriant Rhys Jones, Adam Warren.
Unavailable/ Injured: Hallam Amos (Wales), Tyler Morgan (Wales), Cory Hill (Wales), Leon Brown (Wales), Elliot Dee (Ankle), James Benjamin (Ankle), Ashley Sweet (Chest), Bryce Morgan (Concussion), Dorian Jones (Groin), Charlie Davies (Thumb), Joe Davies (Shoulder/ Neck), Nick Macloed (Foot), George Gasson (Knee), Adam Hughes (Concussion), Lloyd Lewis (Shoulder), Carl Meyer (Groin).