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Jack Dixon will captain the side, in the absence of the Wales internationals, who only returned to pre-season this week and will partner Adam Warren at centre, whilst there’s a new-look pairing at half back with Rhodri Williams and Josh Lewis being given the first chance to claim the number 9 and 10 jersey.

Jordan Williams is selected in his preferred position at full back, with wings Joe Goodchild and Jared Rosser, who returns after representing Wales in the Sevens World Cup.

Up front Rhys Lawrence has an immediate return to Ealing after his summer switch from the West London club, and Ryan Bevington gets his first start in a Dragons jersey. 

The back row consists of Huw Taylor, Nic Cudd and James Benjamin, with Cudd playing his first game since injury during pre-season last year against Glasgow at Ebbw Vale.

Lloyd Fairbrother, Joe Davies and Matthew Screech who made 65 appearances between them last season complete the pack.

Amongst the twelve replacements, Richard Hibbard, Brandon Nansen, Rhodri Davies, Tiaan Loots and Jacob Botica will hope to get their first run out in a Dragons shirt, whilst there’s also places for Gavin Henson and Brok Harris after they missed the latter half of 2017/18.

“We’re taking a larger squad to Ealing on Saturday,” said Head Coach Bernard Jackman, “but after that we’ll make the squads smaller for Northampton and Gloucester. We know we want to get off to a good start so we’re not going to play 30 odd players in the friendlies. 

“After a good season last year, Ealing have big ambitions and have London Irish first up this season, so they will be a good test in our first match this summer as we give some players an opportunity.

“Pre-season games are a case of getting the combinations and the match game time in. We are looking at Treviso in game one and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure we are ready for that rather than just try to win a few friendlies and think we are ahead of ourselves.

“We’re happy with pre-season, just looking at the injured group there’s six in it currently, compared to 26 last year and the likes of Tyler Morgan are close to being back so we are in a much better spot, but we’re still a long way behind so we know how much work we need to do.

“There’s definitely a different feel this year. “The development of the players like Elliot Dee, Leon Brown, Aaron Wainwright going from being regional players to being internationals has been huge. Hallam Amos has picked up more caps and Cory Hill has kicked on again, plus the recruitment we’ve made with Richard Hibbard, Rhodri Williams, Aaron Jarvis, Ryan Bevington and Ross Moriarty has given us more leadership, experience and talent, so it’s been a very good pre-season.

“We’re in a high-pressure environment and expectancy to perform is part of that, maybe there was some leeway last year because the squad hadn’t been successful in the past especially with injuries but we want to build a winning team as quickly as possible. 

“The first month is huge, the calendar has been favourable in terms of the way fixtures have fallen and we know we need to get off to a good start. Signing fourteen players it’s going to take a little bit of time to get that cohesion, but we need to make sure it’s good enough to get us to win games.”

Dragons (v Ealing): Jordan Williams, Jared Rosser, Adam Warren, Jack Dixon ©, Joe Goodchild, Josh Lewis, Rhodri Williams, Ryan Bevington, Rhys Lawrence, Lloyd Fairbrother, Joe Davies, Matthew Screech, Huw Taylor, Nic Cudd, James Benjamin

Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Gerard Ellis, Brok Harris, Rynard Landman, Brandon Nansen, Lewis Evans, Rhodri Davies, Jacob Botica, Gavin Henson, Jarryd Sage, Tiaan Loots, George Gasson

Ealing Trailfinders 15 David Johnston 14 Segundo Tuculet 13 Lewis Jones 12 Pat Howard 11 Seb Stegmann 10 Sam Olver 9 Luke Carter 1 Jack O’Connell 2 Alun Walker 3 Elliot Millar Mills 4 Sam Dickinson (c) 5 Tom Denton 6 Rayn Smid 7 Andrew Durutalo 8 Ollie Stedman 

Replacements:  Matt Cornish, Jake Ellwood, Mark Tampin, Jordan Onojaife, Ben West, Jordan Burns, Craig Willis, Guy Armitage, Will Harries, Peter Lydon, George Edgson 

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Cardiff Blues


Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff

KO 7:35 PM

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