Dragons head coach Bernard Jackman has named his side to take on their closest rivals Cardiff Blues on Boxing Day.
The Welsh Regions battle it out against each other as they return to the Guinness PRO14 championship after two weeks of matches in the Challenge Cup competition.
The back three has one change made to it as wing Pat Howard returns to the starting XV with fellow wing Ashton Hewitt and fullback Hallam Amos. The centre partnership remains unchanged as Adam Warren and Jack Dixon retain their places as well as the half-backs Gavin Henson and young scrum-half Dan Babos getting the nod.
The front row sees ex-Cardiff Blues player Sam Hobbs named alongside fellow prop Lloyd Fairbrother and last weekend’s Man of the Match hooker Elliot Dee. The second row sees lock Joe Davies named with skipper Cory Hill, whilst the back row has Aaron Wainwright and James Benjamin selected as flankers with James Sheekey getting the nod as number 8.
Speaking ahead of the game, Dragons fly-half Gavin Henson said: “It’s been a while since I’ve been involved in them, so it’s nice to be back home.
“The Blues is a massive one for this Region, there’s a bit of niggle there and I can gauge that from the boys already. That’s the big one for us, we are looking forward to that one and then it’s nice to have the Ospreys at home as well (on New Year’s Eve).
“We’ve played against them away and hopefully we can learn from the mistakes and how we let ourselves down and put it right.
“I remember Swansea v Llanelli and they were great days, so I am looking to this one and seeing what the Rodney Parade crowd will be like. They have been great all season so far so with a full house it will be amazing!”
The replacements bench includes prop Nicky Thomas who is set to make his first appearance for the Dragons.
Dragons team to face Cardiff Blues
15 Hallam Amos, 14 Ashton Hewitt, 13 Adam Warren, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Pat Howard, 10 Gavin Henson, 9 Dan Babos; 1 Sam Hobbs, 2 Elliot Dee, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 4 Joe Davies, 5 Cory Hill ©, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 7 James Benjamin, 8 James Sheekey.
Replacements; Liam Belcher, Thomas Davies, Nicky Thomas, Rynard Landman, Ben Roach, Sarel Pretorius, Angus O’Brien, Jared Rosser.
Tickets are selling out fast for the Boxing day derby so supporters are urged to buy their tickets in advance by going to www.dragonsrugby.wales/tickets and choosing the print at home option.
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