Back row big guns to return
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons will bring back their back row big guns in a bid to crack Edinburgh’s miserly defence on Friday.
Wales star Toby Faletau and captain Lewis Evans were named on the bench for last weekend’s 33-13 loss to Munster in Limerick.
Neither came on after Faletau injured his ankle in the warm-up – Evans needed to cover the back five of the pack so could not be brought on in case of injury – and their deputies starred in their absence.
Number eight Tom Brown and openside Jevon Groves combined with Six Nations player of the tournament Dan Lydiate to produce an impressive back row display at Thomond Park.
They ensured that there were some tough calls to make at the selection meeting but head coach Darren Edwards says that Faletau and Evans have earned the nod.
They must repay that faith by leading the charge against an Edinburgh side that are making strides when their opponents have the ball.
“Tom has done really well and Jevon had an excellent game but we have got our club captain back in Lewis Evans and Toby Faletau back and with Dan at blindside our team takes on a different dimension.
“Edinburgh are playing a lot of attacking rugby but I think that they are even more impressive in defence this season.
“They are a tough team to crack but we need to make sure we do that and this will be a real test of our attacking game.
“The back row will give us the go forward and I am hoping the backs can continue their form, because they have looked lethal at times this season.
“Edinburgh use a dump and fan technique in defence, putting one player into the breakdown and spreading the rest out.
“If you don’t go forward they will just frustrate you and turn you over, hence the carrying ability of Toby, we need these game breakers.
“We have got to go back to the power game that we started the season with against Zebre and Leinster.”
That hints at a return to the line-up for strong midfield runners Andy Tuilagi and Pat Leach, who made an impression off the bench in Limerick after starting the first three games of the campaign.
The Dragons have failed to register a league point since their opening night drubbing of Zebre, leaving them with no margin for error on Friday.
“I am confident that we have got the weapons to beat them but they are a very good team and we have got to be on our game,” said Edwards.
“I do understand the pressure that we are under at the moment. It’s a home game and we need to get our next win on the board.”