Dragons’ Head Coach Bernard Jackman has named his side for Friday night’s Guinness PRO14 clash against Ulster with three changes made to the team that were defeated by Leinster last weekend.
The Men of Gwent return to Rodney Parade following a lengthy stretch of away games, seeing the side play their first of five home games in the month of December in Newport.
The back three remain unchanged with Angus O’Brien retaining his place in the fullback position and Ashton Hewitt and Jared Rosser maintaining their spots on the wings. The centre partnership also has no changes made to it with Adam Warren and Jack Dixon named, as fly-half Gavin Henson is joined by youngster Dan Babos as the only change made to the backs.
Brok Harris returns to the front row, from the bench, and is joined by hooker Liam Belcher who makes his first PRO14 start in a Dragons jersey, they make up the front row alongside tight-head prop Lloyd Fairbrother. The second row sees Joe Davies, who recently signed an extension with the Region, named with fellow lock Matthew Screech and the back row remains unchanged as Ollie Griffiths captains the side.
Looking back on the performance against Leinster last weekend, Jackman commented; “We’re obviously sore after what was a difficult night in Ireland and we’ve challenged each other to be better and the response we’ve seen this week so far has been really positive.
“Now we have to make sure we get to the right pitch emotionally to perform against Ulster on Friday night.”
He continued; “It’s the second time we’ve gone against the same opposition this season, against Leinster we didn’t right the wrongs, but we have a chance to correct it this week and show we are a far better side than we were when we played Ulster away from home.
“We have played young teams away from home for different reasons; early season that might have been to give players a S&C (strength and conditioning) focus for the week. In the case of players like Elliot, Leon, Cory, Tyler and Hallam that hopefully helped them get into Wales squad which is what we want to do and will also hopefully help us get wins back end of the season when they are stronger and fitter.
“It has also allowed us to give game time at the highest level to other players. This season I had to give everyone a fair crack and when we look at the end of the season and see how much game time everyone had and the composition of our squad for next year I don’t think anybody will be able to say they didn’t have sufficient game time to prove their point and that’s all you can do is give players sufficient opportunities and they either take them or they don’t.
The replacements bench sees Ellis Shipp, Gerard Ellis, Sam Hobbs, Rynard Landman, Ben Roach, Charlie Davies, Arwel Robson and Pat Howard all named.
Dragons team to face Ulster
15 Angus O’Brien, 14 Ashton Hewitt, 13 Adam Warren, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Jared Rosser, 10 Gavin Henson, 9 Dan Babos; 1 Brok Harris, 2 Liam Belcher, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 4 Joe Davies, 5 Matthew Screech, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Ollie Griffiths ©, 8 James Benjamin.
Replacements; Ellis Shipp, Gerard Ellis, Sam Hobbs, Rynard Landman, Ben Roach, Charlie Davies, Arwel Robson, Pat Howard.
Tickets are now on sale for our five home games in December, starting with our Pro14 clash against Ulster tomorrow evening, KO 19:35. To buy tickets for this game, call 01633 674990.
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