Roberts and Holmes set for Dragons debuts against much-changed Bristol
Wales international pair Jamie Roberts and Jonah Holmes will make their Dragons debuts against a much-changed Bristol in Friday night’s Challenge Cup quarter-finals at Ashton Gate. Vastly experienced centre Roberts will link-up with Nick Tompkins in midfield while Holmes will add to the firepower out wide.
Dragons boss Dean Ryan has also handed a return to action to full-back Jordan Williams, one of seven changes from the side that last featured in the Guinness PRO14 last month. The No15 will return to his former club for the European showdown as he makes his first appearance since November last year.
Wales international Leon Brown and Brok Harris are named upfront to scrum down alongside hooker Elliot Dee, Ross Moriarty is back in the pack while a back row reshuffle will see Aaron Wainwright operate at blindside flanker and Harrison Keddie move to openside.
The final change to the Challenge Cup starting line-up is a recall for Dragons lock Joe Davies who will partner Matthew Screech in the second row. There is also a welcome return for fly-half Josh Lewis who could make his first appearance for Dragons since April 2019 after being named among the replacements.
“We’re all really looking forward to the quarter-final and we’re going to give it everything we have got,” said Ryan. “We have worked hard over the last few weeks, and across our final two league games, to ensure we got the right 15 out on the field.
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“We have had to make some calls on the selection and the players we feel can make an impact. There is real excitement in the squad and we have some big games players who are determined to make an impression in this game.”
Pat Lam, meanwhile, has made 14 changes to his Bristol team from the side that lost at Wasps last Sunday. Bears include nine internationals in a starting line-up that Steven Luatua will skipper the from the back row. Harry Randall returns from a laceration injury to be included in the replacements.
BRISTOL: 15. Charles Piutau; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Semi Radradra, 12. Piers O’Conor, 11. Henry Purdy; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Andy Uren; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. Dave Attwood, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steven Luatua (c), 7. Ben Earl, 8. Nathan Hughes. Reps: 16. Will Capon, 17. Yann Thomas, 18. John Afoa, 19. Joe Joyce, 20. Dan Thomas, 21. Harry Randall, 22. Max Malins, 23. Alapati Leiua.
DRAGONS: 15. Jordan Williams, 14. Jonah Holmes, 13. Nick Tompkins, 12. Jamie Roberts, 11. Ashton Hewitt; 10 Sam Davies, 9. Rhodri Williams (capt); 1. Brok Harris, 2. Elliot Dee, 3. Leon Brown, 4. Joe Davies, 5. Matthew Screech, 6. Aaron Wainwright, 7. Harrison Keddie, 8. Ross Moriarty. Reps: 16. Richard Hibbard, 17. Josh Reynolds, 18. Lloyd Fairbrother, 19. Joe Maksymiw, 20. Taine Basham, 21. Luke Baldwin, 22. Josh Lewis, 23. Adam Warren.
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