Dragons boosted by key duo meeting their returns
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons are boosted for today’s Amlin Challenge Cup clash away at Italian minnows Mogliano by the return of Mike Poole and Andrew Coombs.
Popular wing Poole will play for the region for the first time in over a year after overcoming a succession of serious knee problems.
And Coombs is back after hurting his left knee in the Dragons’ opening match of the season, the 37-6 home victory over Zebre back in August.
The Gwent region make 11 changes from the side which went down to a heavy 32-13 RaboDirect PRO12 defeat at Treviso last Saturday.
There are seven changes in the pack, only captain Lewis Evans keeping his place at blindside flanker in the starting XV, from the eight which went down last week.
It’s a big day for tighthead Tim Ryan, the Irishman making his first start since joining the Dragons from Italian side I Cavalieri Prato in the summer.
The 28-year-old has played well for Newport this season but has only made three appearances as a replacement for the region so far.
The Dragons select a powerhouse centre partnership with promising 17-year-old Jack Dixon in midfield with Samoa internationalAndy Tuilagi.
Will Harries is back in action on the wing after he was sent off against Treviso following his two yellow cards – the first for a deliberate knock on before a second for side entry.
A disciplinary hearing in the week decided his red card was sufficient punishment and he is free to play.
Mogliano, between Venice and Treviso, have had a tough time of it so far in the Amlin Challenge Cup, hammered 71-8 at Mike Phillips’ Bayonne before being battered 59-12 at home by Wasps.
They shouldn’t cause the Dragons too many problems at the Stadio Maurizio Quaggia, the visitors seek their first win in the tournament this season.
Rugby Mogliano: E Galon; G Benvenuti, E Ceccato, C Cerioni, M Gazzola; E Padovani, E Endrizzi; A Ceccato, A C Repetto, M Ravalle, J Bocchi, E Pavanello, M Barbini, M Swanepoel, E Candiago (capr).
Replacements: I Gianesini, L Naka, G Ceneda, F Maso, N Corbanese, T Boni, F Guarducci, A Lucchese.
Dragons: T Prydie, W Harries, J Dixon, A Tuilagi, M Poole, L Robling, J Evans, N Williams, S Parry, T Ryan, I Nimmo, A Coombs, J Groves, L Evans (capt), I Jones Replacements: H Gustafson, O Evans, N Buck, R Sidoli, T Brown, W Evans, D Evans, P Leach.
Referee: Ian Tempest (England)