Andrew Coombs has been named in the Dragons starting line-up to face Bordeaux BÃ¨gles in their Amlin Challenge Cup clash.
Captain and lock Andrew Coombs has been named in the Dragons starting line-up to face Bordeaux BÃ¨gles in Friday's Amlin Challenge Cup clash.
Coombs will feature alongside fellow Welsh internationals Hallam Amos and Toby Faletau and admits he is eager to get onto the pitch.
“I am really keen to get out on the field now, I am feeling good and I can't wait to play,” he told the Dragons website ahead of the Pool fixture.
“The strength and depth we have is fantastic and we've never had that option before when the boys have gone away to Wales camp. To see people like Rob Sidoli play out of their comfort zones and also Talei at number eight is fantastic. Sid comes with a lot of experience so the younger boys are learning a lot from him; he's important to have.
Including the Welsh internationals there have been nine changes to the starting XV. Full-back Dan Evans retains his place at number fifteen. He is joined in the back-three by Matthew Pewtner who moves to right wing as Amos steps back into the fold on the left.
The centre pairing takes on a different shape with Pat Leach and Ashley Smith. Jason Tovey retains his place at number ten and Wayne Evans steps into the scrum-half position.
The front-row sees the return of Hugh Gustafson to his previous position of loosehead prop. Gustafson last started for the Dragons as a prop in 2011 when they took on Edinburgh at Rodney Parade. He is joined by Sam Parry as hooker and Dan Way as tighthead prop.
The second-row sees the return of skipper Coombs and Matthew Screech. Lewis Evans then keeps his place at blindside flanker, with Nic Cudd and British and Irish Lion Faletau making up the rest of the back-row.
“We have to win this home game as it's going to be a tough trip going over there but we are looking for the win,” added Coombs.
“We need to play well here and get some confidence and then try for the win away from home. The boys have gained a lot of this already away from home by winning against Glasgow.”
Bordeaux know that an away win is essential in keeping them in touch with leaders Bath.
They name Argentina international Joaquim Tuculet at full-back and Samoan wing Robert Lilomaiava in a back-three with Rafael Carballo, while captain Gauthier Gibouin leads from a back-row that includes Poutasi Luafutu and Matthew Graham. Benjamin Sa is tighthead.
Bordeaux are currently tenth in the Top 14.
Dragons: 15 Daniel Evans, 14 Matthew Pewtner, 13 Patrick Leach, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Andrew Coombs (capt), 3 Dan Way, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Hugh Gustafson.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Nathan Buck, 19 Robert Sidoli, 20 Ieuan Jones, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Kris Burton, 23 Ross Wardle.
Bordeaux-BÃ¨gles: 15 Joaquim Tuculet, 14 Robert Lilomaiava, 13 Charles Brousse, 12 Thibault Lacroix, 11 Rafael Carballo, 10 Romain Lonca, 9 Manu Saubusse, 8 Poutasi Luafutu, 7 Matthew Graham, 6 Gauthier Gibouin (capt), 5 Aliki Fakate, 4 Cameron Treloar, 3 Benjamin Sa, 2 Benat Auzqui, 1 Jefferson Poirot.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Fidinde, 17 Laurent DelBoulbes, 18 Patrick Toetu, 19 Adam Jaulhac, 20 Jean-Blaise Lespinasse, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Gilem Queheille, 23 Jean-Baptiste Lamotte.
Date: Friday, December 6
Kick-off: 19:15 GMT
Venue: Rodney Parade
Referee: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)
Bayonne v Viadana
Bayonne can put the pressure on Pool rivals London Wasps by claiming a bonus-point victory over Viadana in Friday's other Amlin Challenge Cup fixture at Stade Jean-Dauger.
They should have little trouble doing just that after naming a side that includes Martin Bustos-Moyano, Manu Ahotaeiloa, Stephen Brett and captain Dewald Senekal.
Sam Gerber joins Ahotaeiloa in the centre, with Marvin O'Connor completing the back-three alongside Bastien Fuster and full-back Bustos-Moyano. Guillaume Rouet is scrum-half.
Bayonne: 15 Martin Bustos Moyano, 14 Bastien Fuster, 13 Manu Ahotaeiloa, 12 Sam Gerber, 11 Marvin O'Connor, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Guillaume Rouet, 8 Dwayne Haare, 7 Jean Monribot, 6 Guillaume Bernad, 5 Dewald Senekal (capt), 4 Abdellatif Boutaty, 3 Gert Muller, 2 Anthony Etrillard, 1 Aretz Iguiniz.
Replacements: 16 Gregory Arganese, 17 Pierre Philippe Lafond, 18 Nemiah Tialata, 19 Mark Chisholm, 20 Mathieu Belie, 21 Jean-Jo Marmouyet, 22 Julien Puricelli, 23 Matthieu Ugalde.
Viadana: 15 Riccardo Pavan, 14 Nicola Sintich, 13 Gilberto Pavan, 12 Gabriel Pizarro (capt), 11 Anthony Michael Fenner, 10 Keanu John Apperley-Iti, 9 Pietro Travagli, 8 Marco Pelizzari, 7 Andrea Denti, 6 Pietro Moreschi, 5 Matteo Minari, 4 Ruahan Van Jaarsveld, 3 Riccardo Cagna, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Marco Coletti.
Replacements: 16 Antonio Denti, 17 Daniele Greco, 18 Giulio Cenedese, 19 Joubert Prinsloo Horn, 20 Andrea Barbieri, 21 Khyam Steven Apperley-Iti, 22 Kaine Robertson, 23 Juan Pablo Sanchez.
Date: Friday, December 6
Kick-off: 20:00 local (19:00 GMT)
Venue: Stade Jean-Dauger
Referee: Vlad Iordescu (Romania)