Dragons hooker Tom Willis will captain the region as they take on Munster in the opening round of the RaboDirect Pro 12 on Saturday (Musgrave Park, 7:45pm)
New signings Joe Bedford and Tom Brown will make their first Pro 12 starts in Dragons colours in a team that sees 8 changes from the starting lineup that faced Leeds 2 weeks ago.
Absent from the side are Wayne Evans (shoulder), Lewis Evans (calf) and Jamie Smith (back).
“Any of these three could have made it this week but with fitness likely to play a crucial part in World Cup year, I don’t want to take any unnecessary risks,” said Dragons Head Coach Darren Edwards.
“Munster are going to be a tough challenge – despite the players they will be missing with the Irish squad. I know that our record in Musgrave has not been great over the years but there is a confidence about the squad this season that enables us to only think about the game ahead rather than worrying about what has gone in the past.”
Dragons team for Munster
15. Steffan Jones, 14. Adam Hughes, 13. Tom Riley, 12. Ashley Smith, 11. Mike Poole, 10. Jason Tovey, 9. Joe Bedford, 1. Phil Price, 2. Tom Willis, 3. Ben Castle, 4. Adam Jones, 5. Robert Sidoli, 6. Andrew Coombs, 7. Gavin Thomas, 8. Tom Brown.
16. Rhys Buckley, 17. Nathan Williams, 18. Dan Way, 19. Jevon Groves, 20. Hugo Ellis, 21. Wayne Evans, 22. Pat Leach, 23. Martyn Thomas.
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