8:01am Friday 1st November 2013
CAPTAIN Lewis Evans is prepared to put his back into it against Leinster tonight as Newport Gwent Dragons bid to shore up their struggling scrum.
The Dragons look to return to winning ways when they welcome the RaboDirect Pro12 champions to Rodney Parade following defeats to Bath and the Ospreys.
The front five was under the pump at the Rec and the Liberty Stadium with the set piece – traditionally the region's Achilles heel – creaking.
They can ill afford a repeat performance against a Leinster side that scrummed their way to a dramatic derby win against Connacht in Galway last week.
And all eight members of the Dragons pack have been told to make sure they keep their shoulder to the wheel.
"It was a tough day at the office against the Ospreys and we capitulated," said flanker Evans, who skippers the side in the absence of Wales lock Andrew Coombs this evening.
"We've looked at our scrum and the problem isn't just with the front row – we have been told as a back row to help them out more.
"Obviously as flanker I am concerned with what is going to happen off the scrum but we need to look after job one first.
"As a back row we have to help out the front row more, I've had a word with Kingsley and Lyn (Jones, coaches) about that because it means I will be tighter (in defence), which will be a challenge.
"But that's something that we've got to do because Leinster do have a good scrum."
It's a balancing act for the Dragons, who have won all four of their home games this season thanks to their tenacity in defence and exploits at the breakdown.
They will be loath to give Leinster too much of a head start in the race to the contact area, especially as Evans will be going toe-to-toe with experienced Ireland openside Shane Jennings, a man who relishes a scrap on the ground.
"He hasn't played that much this season because of injury but he is an out-and-out seven, a real nuisance at the breakdown," said Evans.
"He will try and lead from the front with his experience; he is there to steady the ship. Leinster will have a mix of youthful exuberance with level heads of players like Jennings."
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