Tovey to start for Dragons at Ulster

Fly half Jason Tovey is handed the No.10 jersey as Dragons head to Belfast to face Ulster Rugby in the Guinness PRO14 on Friday evening (kick-off 7.55pm).

Ben Mottram | 25/10/2018

Tovey - the leading scorer in the region’s history and sixth highest marksman in Guinness PRO14 history – is given a starting jersey after being signed on permit from Cross Keys. 

Tovey’s inclusion is one of ten changes for Dragons, with six senior players away on international duty with Wales.

Wing Dafydd Howells returns, after being rested for the European game with Northampton Saints, while centre Adam Warren is also recalled.

Will Talbot-Davies will start his first Guinness PRO14 game on the wing, with Zane Kirchner moving to the bench.

Six changes in the pack include a first Dragons start in the Guinness PRO14 for Huw Taylor, who is named at blindside flanker.

Number Eight Harri Keddie will also make his first appearance of the season while Nic Cudd comes into a new-look back row.

Richard Hibbard will captain the side from hooker and pack down alongside the recalled Lloyd Fairbrother. The final change is a starting spot for lock Matthew Screech.

The bench includes call-ups for lock Joe Davies, back row Taine Basham and a return for fit-again centre Jack Dixon.

“It’s a tough place to go,” said Head Coach Bernard Jackman. “They are one of the best supported teams, it’s a class stadium and it’s a unique place historically where they love their rugby.

“Ulster are ambitious and have always recruited well. They have a new coach, who I know well, and had a lots of wins at the start of the season when they closed out tights games.

“They got well beaten by Racing 92 last weekend in Europe, in terms of the scoreboard, but some of the rugby they played was very entertaining and ambitious.

“They are a team that keeps the ball more than any other in the competition so we are going to have to defend well and kick well.

“We want to get points over this period. It’s a real opportunity for players to step up and put down a marker in terms of their position in the squad.”

Dragons: Jordan Williams, Dafydd Howells, Adam Warren, Jarryd Sage, Will Talbot-Davies, Jason Tovey, Rhodri Williams; Brok Harris, Richard Hibbard (c), Lloyd Fairbrother, Matthew Screech, Lewis Evans, Huw Taylor, Nic Cudd, Harrison Keddie.

Replacements: Rhys Lawrence, Aaron Jarvis, Ryan Bevington, Joe Davies, Taine Basham, Tavis Knoyle, Jack Dixon, Zane Kirchner 

Ulster: M Lowry, R Baloucoune, W Addison, S McCloskey, H Speight, J McPhillips, D Shanahan; E O'Sullivan, R Best (c), M Moore, I Henderson, K Treadwell, S Reidy, J Murphy, M Coetzee

Replacements: R Herring, A Warwick, T O'Toole, A O'Connor, G Jones, J Stewart, A Kernohan, C Gilroy

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