New Dragon Dan Evans has point to prove against former region
SCARLETS v DRAGONS (Tomorrow, KO 7.05pm)
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons’ new signing Dan Evans is determined to show the Scarlets what they are missing when he clashes with his old side tomorrow night.
The full back doesn’t believe he was given a fair crack of the whip by his former region.
Evans is keen to get one over his former region at Parc y Scarlets as the Dragons look for their first league win over them in eight attempts.
The 23-year-old, capped twice by Wales on their 2009 North America tour, found his ambitions at the Scarlets in the 15 shirt thwarted by fellow internationals Rhys Priest-land, Morgan Stoddart and, more recently, Liam Williams.
On being asked if he thought the Scarlets had seen the best of him, Evans replied: “No, I didn’t have a fair chance there – I didn’t get the luck of a run.
“But that’s in the past now. All I’m concentrating on now is playing well for the Dragons. Hopefully we can pick up a couple of victories in our next few games and there’s no better way to start than at Parc y Scarlets.”
Making his debut as an 18-year-old in 2007, Evans went on to play 74 times for the Scarlets, scoring ten tries before signing for the Dragons this summer.
And Evans has made a great start since coming to Rodney Parade, scoring four tries in his five appearances so far.
He has no regrets about heading east and is enjoying a new lease of life as well as a chance of regular rugby once again.
“It was the right decision to leave the Scarlets. I had some good years there and some frustrating years,” Evans said.
“It’s nice to be back playing on a regular basis. It’s always good if you are playing week in, week out.
“One game now and then and you’re not going to see the best of someone.”
Since moving down the pecking order with the Scarlets, he was a regular teammate of Nic Cudd with Llanelli in the Premiership.
Openside flanker Cudd is due to make his regional league and Dragons debut tomorrow night and Evans is backing him to shine.
“This is a great opportunity for Nic going back to Parc y Scarlets.
“He’s a very good player. I’ve grown up with him. I came through age grades with him.”
Evans added: “Nic’s been unlucky with injuries and not getting some opportunities. He’s got a perfect chance to show what he’s capable of.”
Tomorrow night could have seen Dragons back row forward Hywel Stoddart, 26, take on his big brother in Scarlets full back Morgan, 28.
But Hywel suffered what the region have called a “catastrophic knee injury” while playing for Newport in their defeat at Llandovery last weekend.
He is likely to be out of action for the rest of the season.
Meanwhile, Morgan could make his long-awaited return to action this weekend, 14 months after being stretchered off in a World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham.
The eight-capped Scarlets man suffered a horrific double break of the left leg playing for Wales against England in August 2011.
Dragons squad: Backs – D Evans, H Amos, T Prydie, W Harries, A Hughes, J Dixon, A Tuilagi, P Leach, A Smith, Steffan Jones, J Evans, L Davies. Forwards – J Groves, I Jones, T Brown, T Faletau, L Evans, N Cudd, I Nimmo, A Jones, D Way, N Buck, A Coundley, P Price, Steve Jones, H Gustafson, S Parry.
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)