Dragons fly half Jason Tovey will start at 10 for the Dragons crucial match against Aironi Rugby on Saturday at Rodney Parade (6:30pm).
As Pat Leach returns from injury to start, Centre Tom Cheeseman and Ashley Smith have both had to pull out. Smith failed a fitness test following the knee injury he picked up against Glasgow which kept him out of last weekend’s game against Toulouse whilst Cheeseman picked up a knee injury in training at the start of the week.
Rising star Toby Faletau will make his first start of the season at number 8 and Steve Jones will start at hooker following the withdrawal of Dragons captain Tom Willis.
“The loss of Tom Cheeseman and Ashley have been blows for us this week,” said Dragons Head Coach Paul Turner. “It does seem that as soon as one player comes back from injury, another one picks one up – but that is professional sport and the players who are being called into the squad have a fine opportunity to prove themselves.”
“I can see the confidence starting to return within the squad. Defensively we are getting tighter game by game and our attacking game is getting back to where it was last season.”
Dragons team for Aironi
Will Harries, Adam Hughes, Tom Riley, Pat Leach, Aled Brew; Jason Tovey; Wayne Evans; Phil Price, Steve Jones, Pat Palmer, Luke Charteris (C), Rob Sidoli, Dan Lydiate, Gavin Thomas, Toby Faletau
Lloyd Burns, Hugh Gustafson, Nigel Hall, Scott Morgan, Andrew Coombs, Mathew Jones, Nicky Griffiths, Rhodri Gomer Davies.
Referee Andrew McMenemy (SRU)
Assistant Referees: Phil Fear, Colin Kirkhouse