2:16pm Thursday 20th February 2014
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons captain Andrew Coombs is pencilled in to start against Glasgow on Sunday – and the Wales lock is set to be joined in the squad by a pair of new tightheads.
The Rodney Parade region are looking to solve a propping crisis by bringing in Bruce Douglas and Lewis Thiede from Bristol and London Scottish respectively.
The Dragons are without a recognised tighthead because Nathan Buck is ill, Dan Way has a back problem and Francisco Chaparro is banned until April 27 following his dismissal for a tip tackle against Leinster.
Douglas, 34, won 43 caps for Scotland and has played for Harlequins, Borders, the Scarlets, Montpellier and Worcester.
Doncaster-born Thiede, 23, had a spell with London Wasps before signing for Scottish where he has been working under head coach James Buckland, who the Dragons have been using as a scrum consultant.
"You get these emergencies every so often where you are hit by not just one injury but three medium to long-term absentees at tighthead," said director of rugby Lyn Jones.
"We've secured loans with Bristol and London Scottish but we are just waiting for confirmation from the RFU and WRU that they are able to play."
The region have their fingers crossed that the new boys will get the green light and they are also hopeful that their skipper will be in their ranks.
Coombs, who started against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium a fortnight ago, has been left out of the Wales matchday squad to take on France in the Six Nations tomorrow evening.
The 29-year-old lock is an emergency reserve at the Millennium Stadium and will start for the Dragons as long as his services are not required.
"He will be starting at five as long as he is not needed by Wales," said Jones. "It's a boost for us to have a player of Andrew's stature available.
"I thought he had a decent game against Ireland and he needs to get back on the field and put that disappointment behind him."
Meanwhile Jones has denied reports of Dragons interest in former Wales centre Gavin Henson and Ospreys fly-half Matthew Morgan.
"There is no truth in that at all. We're concentrating all our efforts on strengthening our squad in the front five department," said the director of rugby.
The Dragons have so far signed loosehead Boris Stankovich from Leicester, hooker Rhys Buckley from Moseley, wing Aled Brew from Biarritz and full-back Lee Bryne from Clermont Auvergne.
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