Welsh international Andrew Coombs returns to the Newport Gwent Dragons starting line-up as they face Connacht in the RaboDirect PRO12 at Rodney Parade this Sunday, KO 15:05.
Skipper Coombs has made one appearance for the men of Gwent during his international duties and helped them gain a crucial victory against Glasgow Warriors. He is joined in the starting line up alongside ten changes and one positional change to the side that faced Ulster rugby at the end of February.
Fullback Daniel Evans returns to the fold after being banned for five weeks for a dangerous tackle whilst playing against Newcastle Falcons. On his return to play, he said, "It's a big relief being able to play this weekend; no one likes to be out with a ban. I've had a good five weeks of hard training so I just can't wait to get back onto the field now and play."
"I feel refreshed after this time out and hopefully I can bring some energy to the game."
Being back in the team and playing alongside both Coombs and Faletau, he added, "It's great to have the senior Welsh boys back here, they had a tough time during the six nations but they finished on a high. They are key players for us and are very influential when they do play. They will be a big boost at Sunday's game."
Evans is joined in the back three by Tom Prydie, who is returning from an ankle injury and Will Harries. The centre pairing takes on the form of young gun Ross Wardle and Under 20s star Jack Dixon. Jason Tovey returns from injury to take up the place of fly half and international scrum half Richie Rees retains his place at number 9.
The front row has one change to it as Hugh Gustafson steps into the position of hooker; he is joined by props Owen Evans and Bruce Douglas. Director of rugby Lyn Jones has gone with an experienced second row by naming Andrew Coombs, who makes his return from Wales and lock Rob Sidoli. Lewis Evans is moved from number eight to blindside flanker and is joined in the back row by Nic Cudd and Netani Talei.
There have been seven changes made to the replacements bench, as Wayne Evans is joined by Elliot Dee, Phil Price, Duncan Bell, Matthew Screech, Welsh international Taulupe Faletau, Ashley Smith and Matthew Pewtner.
Newport Gwent Dragons team to face Connacht Rugby
Daniel Evans, Tom Prydie, Ross Wardle, Jack Dixon, Will Harries, Jason Tovey, Richie Rees; Owen Evans, Hugh Gustafson, Bruce Douglas, Andrew Coombs (c), Rob Sidoli, Lewis Evans, Nic Cudd, Netani Talei.
Elliot Dee, Phil Price, Duncan Bell, Matthew Screech, Taulupe Faletau, Wayne Evans, Ashley Smith, Matthew Pewtner.
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