Preview: Dragons v Ospreys

14th Apr 2011, 14:20

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Gavin Thomas: Back for Dragons

Gavin Thomas: Back for Dragons

Darren Edwards has named his first team as Head Coach of the Dragons as the Men of Gwent take on the Ospreys at Rodney Parade.

Darren Edwards has named his first team as Head Coach of the Dragons as the Men of Gwent take on the Ospreys at Rodney Parade on Friday.

Will Harries steps in for the injured Martyn Thomas at fullback whilst Adam Hughes moves on to the wing and Ashley Smith returns at inside centre with an unchanged half back pairing.

Back row Gavin Thomas returns for his first start since the jaw injury he picked up earlier in the season and Andrew Coombs moves into the second row to replace the injured Luke Charteris

"It was a blow to lose Luke after last week's game," said Edwards.

"And obviously it isn't ideal to have a back row player having to move into the tight five. But Andrew has played lock before and I'm confident that the team will pull together for today's match.

"It's not often that we can come into a home match looking to complete the double over a top 3 team but although today presents us with a lot of challenges, it also presents with an opportunity to make a little bit of history."

Meanwhile, Ospreys coach Scott Johnson has left departing Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips out of his matchday 23 for Friday's Magners League clash.

Rhys Webb will continue in the Ospreys' number nine shirt at Rodney Parade, with Tom Isaacs providing scrum-half bench cover.

The 51 times-capped Phillips, whose existing Ospreys contract does not expire until 2014, will be allowed to leave the Swansea-based region once he finds another club.

However Phillips does not even feature among a list of 12 Ospreys players currently unavailable through injury, suggesting Johnson and his coaching staff are already planning for life without him.

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Will Harries, 14 Adam Hughes, 13 Tom Riley, 12 Ashley Smith (c), 11 Aled Brew, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Gavin Thomas, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Adam Jones, 4 Andrew Coombs, 3 Ben Castle, 2 Lloyd Burns, 1 Phil Price.
Replacements: 16 Steve Jones, 17 Dan Way, 18 Hugh Gustafson, 19 Lewis Evans, 20 Joe Bearman, 21 Matthew Pewtener, 22 Jon Evans, 23 Matthew Jones.

Ospreys: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 James Hook, 11 Nikki Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Jerry Collins, 7 Marty Holah, 6 Tom Smith 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Ryan Jones, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Huw Bennett, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Cai Griffiths, 19 Ian Gough, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Tom Isaacs, 22 Sonny Parker, 23 Richard Fussell.

Date: Friday, 15 April
Venue: Rodney Parade
Kick-off: 19:05 BST