Following their bonus point win in France and securing their home draw in the European Challenge Cup competition, it is back to Magners League action for The Dragons on Friday when they take on Borders at Rodney Parade (7.30pm)
The Dragons have named a 25-man squad for the match and have included Ashley Smith who they are hoping will have recovered from his shoulder injury which kept him out of the game against Bayonne. Also named is Mike Hercus who injured his knee in France but he is expected to have made a full recovery in time for Friday's game.
Among the forwards academy member Lewis Evans is drafted into the squad as back row cover and he joins fellow academy members Richard Wilkes and Jamie Corsi who has recovered from his knee injury sustained against the Ospreys on New Years Eve. However, Lee Harrison is ruled out after injuring his foot last weekend.
Hooker Ben Daly recovered from his calf strain last Friday to start against Bayonne and looking ahead to the Magners League clash against Borders said, "Both sides will be depleted due to international calls ups and this levels the playing field considerably. We are expecting a tight and tough encounter however, we are quietly confident that if we get the basics right – our set piece is strong and defend with aggression we can build on last weekend's result against Bayonne."
The Dragons are going for their eighth straight home win of the season on Friday night.
Head Coach Paul Turner speaking on the game said, "Borders will come here (Rodney Parade) with nothing to lose and that makes them a dangerous proposition. They have a talented squad full of international players. They are well coached and managed by Steve Bates and already this season have threatened a lot of sides in the Magners League as well as going toe to toe with Heineken Cup finalists Biarritz where they were 17-17 deep into injury time on French soil. Their win against all odds against a full strength Leinster team earlier in the season shows that they demand huge respect and we will give them nothing less than that."
"It is vital we transfer the momentum picked up in our European Challenge Cup campaign into Magners League form so we can move up the table," said Luke Charteris. "Saying this it will be a tough game against Borders who gave us a physical game at the beginning of the season. With the international boys away with Wales it is a great opportunity for other squad members to step into the team and perform which has been one of our strengths over the past few seasons."
Aled Thomas, Gareth Wyatt, Gareth Chapman, Richard Fussell, Paul Emerick, Ashley Smith, A N Other, Aled Brew, Mike Hercus, Alex Walker, Gareth Baber, Adam Black, David Maddocks, Ben Daly, Richard Wilkes, Jamie Corsi, Gethin Robinson, Peter Sidoli, Luke Charteris, Andrew Hall, Lewis Evans, Michael Owen, Nic Fitisemanu, S O Else, Jamie Ringer.