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Willis and Charteris return

Guinness PRO12 Editor

27 Apr 2011

Newport Gwent Dragons will be boosted by the return of both regular captain Tom Willis and stand-in skipper Luke Charteris for the Magners League derby with Cardiff Blues on Friday.

While Charteris has missed just the last two matches, Willis has been a longer-term absentee.

The former All Black has been sidelined since mid-February when he broke his thumb shortly after returning from a leg injury.

But he will return to action with a place among the replacements for the Welsh derby showdown.

"Tom's had a tough season with injuries so it's good to have him back," said Dragons head coach Darren Edwards.
"He brings a lot to the environment and will help drive us on."

Wales second-row Charteris is likely to start at Rodney Parade as he targets a place in Warren Gatland's World Cup squad.

"They said I’d be out for six to eight weeks and the season had gone for me, but I was quite keen to get back for the last two games,"

Charteris was more than away of the influence the Dragons hold as Magners League play-off king makers – they also face play-off contenders Ulster in the final league fixture.

But he is solely focussed on securing the Dragons first win over the Blues in eight attempts.

"It makes no difference to me who qualifies, we want to win as many games as we can just to gets the scalp and the bragging rights," said Charteris.

"It’s disappointing  that we’re going in with little to play for other than pride and for the fans, but we’ll certainly turn up for it, we’ve have to change our record against them."