Dragons name side for European opener

Flyhalf Angus O’Brien will make his first start in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, as Newport Gwent Dragons take on Stade Francais this Saturday evening in Paris.

O’Brien has been a regular feature in the Dragons squad this season since he moved from the Academy set up into the senior squad this summer.


His inclusion is one of five changes Jones has made to the side that faced Edinburgh rugby last weekend in the Guinness PRO12.


Director of Rugby Lyn Jones said: “We are excited about playing in a new competition and it's about time we did well in Europe and got a bit of respect.


"We are under no illusions about how difficult it is going to be to win but it's about going there, believing ourselves and hitting our KPIs (key performance indicators).


"The French are quite reserved in their domestic competition and when they enter into Europe they will look at us, Newcastle and Bucharest and think let's go and play.


"They have a good attitude to keeping the game alive and if we switch off they can score from 100 yards but at the same time they can concede from 100 yards.


"We appreciate we are at the bottom of our game at the moment but that can quickly turn around."


Skipper Lee Byrne retains his place and is named as fullback; he is joined in the back three by wings Matthew Pewtner and Hallam Amos. The centre pairing of Tom Prydie and Ashley Smith also remains the same as last weekend. The half backs are all change as youngster Angus O’Brien and experienced scrum-half Richie Rees get the nod.


Two changes have been made to the front row as T. Rhys Thomas and Lloyd Fairbrother join loose-head prop Boris Stankovich. The second row partnership of Andrew Coombs and Rynard Landman remain the same, as one change is made in the back row. International number 8 Taulupe Faletau joins flankers Lewis Evans and Nic Cudd, after being rested last weekend.


Seven changes have been made to the bench as Aled Brew is joined by, Elliot Dee, Owen Evans, Dan Way, James Thomas, Andy Powell, Jonathan Evans and Jason Tovey.


Newport Gwent Dragons Team to face Stade Francais

Lee Byrne (c), Matthew Pewtner, Tom Prydie, Ashley Smith, Hallam Amos, Angus O’Brien, Richie Rees; Boris Stankovich, T. Rhys Thomas, Lloyd Fairbrother, Andrew Coombs, Rynard Landman, Lewis Evans, Nic Cudd, Taulupe Faletau.


Replacements: Elliot Dee, Owen Evans, Dan Way, James Thomas, Andy Powell, Jonathan Evans, Jason Tovey, Aled Brew.

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