Dragons look for Bell to anchor bid for Edinburgh glory

First published in Sport

NEWPORT Gwent Dragons will be looking for the sizeable frame of prop Duncan Bell to provide a platform that enables them to get their season back on track against Edinburgh this evening.

The Dragons aim to end a three-game run without victory when they welcome the Scots to Rodney Parade in the RaboDirect Pro12.

Victory would see Lyn Jones' side overtake Connacht into seventh in the table and stretch away from Cardiff Blues in the battle to avoid being Wales' bottom region.

To achieve that they will have to overcome an Edinburgh side that head to Newport with a heavy tight five, keen to inflict another set piece humbling on the Dragons.

Connacht destroyed the region up front in their last Rodney Parade encounter, powering to a hat-trick of driving lineout tries and another from a scrum against the head.

The Dragons did not concede a single point while former England tighthead Bell was on the pitch and the 39-year-old mortgage advisor, who the region tempted out of retirement in February, gets a second successive start this evening.

He will slot in alongside hooker Elliot Dee – who was born in March 1994 when Bell was attempting to earn a contract with Harlequins – and the Wales Under-20s is glad to benefit from his reassuring presence.

"Duncan has made a big difference at the scrum," said Dee. "His knowledge and experience is a big help; he knows what to do and when to do it.

"He is not putting in ten carries around the field but is certainly anchoring the scrum. He is a valuable part of the team and a good signing until the end of the season.

"I am learning a lot off him and he is almost like a father figure! He comes across in the right way and we are all taking in what he says and benefiting from the experience that he has got."

Dee has formed a useful front-row partnership with Bell and loosehead Phil Price with the trio coming off the bench en bloc against Connacht and then doing well in the 25-25 draw against Zebre last Saturday.

And the hooker from Newbridge, who is set to head for a second successive Junior World Championship this summer, hopes that they can play their part in helping the Dragons enjoy a fine run-in.

"We slipped up at the start of the season against Edinburgh (beaten 16-13 at Murrayfield with the last kick) and would like to try and get one over them so that we can get on a winning streak," he said.

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