Dee day for Dragons’ Euro bid
ELLIOT Dee skippers the Dragons as they launch their bid for glory in the European Challenge Cup against Timisoara Saracens in Romania today (12.30pm).
The hooker, who impressed for Wales during summer assignments with South Africa and Argentina, takes over from Cory Hill.
Head coach Bernard Jackman has made six changes to the side beaten 23-15 by Cardiff Blues in last weekend’s big east Wales Guinness PRO14 derby.
Former South Africa full-back Zane Kirchner, back from a loan spell at Bristol Bears, comes into the back-line along with centre Tyler Morgan and scrum-half Tavis Knoyle.
Centre Adam Warren, who had a first-half stormer while in midfield against the Blues, moves to the wing with Jared Rosser ruled out by concussion.
Changes in the pack see Matthew Screech and Lewis Evans, normally a back-rower, summoned at lock with Samoa international Brandon Nansen missing the Euro trip through illness.
And the reliable Nic Cudd is named at openside flanker with Wales contender Ollie Griffiths moving across the back-row to blindside flanker in place of the country’s newest cap, Aaron Wainwright.
“The footage we have seen of them shows they are dominating their domestic competition,” said former Ireland hooker Jackman of Timisoara.
“We saw a big improvement in our attack against Cardiff Blues and we want to be ambitious and go after the scores early, get into our shape and play.
“We respect them massively and we know it will be difficult, but we will go high tempo for the full game.
“We are in a tough group, alongside Northampton Saints and Clermont, so we need to get off to a good start in Romania.”
Zane Kirchner, Dafydd Howells, Tyler Morgan, Jarryd Sage, Adam Warren, Josh Lewis, Tavis Knoyle; Brok Harris, Elliot Dee (capt), Leon Brown, Matthew Screech, Lewis Evans, Ollie Griffiths, Nic Cudd, Ross Moriarty.
Rhys Lawrence, Aaron Jarvis, Lewis Fairbrother, Cory Hill, Huw Taylor, Rhodri Davies, Jordan Williams, Will Talbot-Davies.