4:28pm Thursday 22nd August 2013
By Chris Kirwan
NEW signing Rhys Thomas will captain Newport Gwent Dragons in their pre-season friendly against Bath at Rodney Parade tomorrow evening (kick-off 7.15pm).
The 31-year-old former Wales hooker will lead the side out in the absence of recently appointed skipper Andrew Coombs, who will not feature because of a minor bump.
Lions number eight Toby Faletau is given a start just seven weeks after starring in the stunning third Test drubbing of Australia.
The Wales back row forward will feature for half an hour while Matthew Screech gets the chance to impress after catching the eye in pre-season training.
The 20-year-old, who was released by Cardiff Blues at the end of last season, penned a deal with Bedwas but the Dragons have taken over the contract of the former Wales Under-20s lock.
"Matthew has had a great pre-season and has earned this start," said director of rugby Lyn Jones.
"We don't quite know what we've got with him but he is a promising player and has certainly stood up well over the summer.
"Matthew has worked hard and look forward to seeing what he can do against a good Bath side."
Fly-half Jason Tovey will make his Dragons comeback from the off following his ill-fated season at Cardiff Blues and his half-back partner is the 2012/13 player of the year Jonathan Evans.
The game against the Aviva Premiership outfit is the region's only friendly of pre-season so Jones and his coaching team will give game time to all the fit members of their squad.
Coombs is joined on the injury list by lock Robert Sidoli, loosehead prop Phil Price, wing Will Harries, fly-half/centre Lewis Robling, centre Ashley Smith, fly-half Steffan Jones and flanker Darren Waters, although only the last two are expected to be long-term absentees.
Dragons: D Evans, T Prydie, P Leach, J Dixon, A Hughes, J Tovey, J Evans, N Williams, R Thomas (captain), D Way, M Screech, A Jones, J Groves, N Cudd, T Faletau. Replacements from rest of squad.
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