The Dragons have welcomed back two Wales stars to a side that boasts a heavyweight midfield pairing for their Boxing Day’s big Guinness PRO14 derby clash with Cardiff Blues at Rodney Parade.

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Wales international duo Aaron Wainwright and Jonah Holmes return to the starting line-up as head coach Dean Ryan makes eight changes to the side that faced Bordeaux-Begles in Europe last weekend. Holmes slots in at full-back while there is also a recall for speedsters Ashton Hewitt and Owen Jenkins on the wings.

The Dragons will field a 115kg against their local rivals. The 6’3, 110kg frame of Jamie Roberts (who captains the side against his former region) is paired with 6’2, 105kg Jack Dixon in midfield.

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Matthew Screech and Ben Carter return to join forces in the second row. Wainwright is named at Number Eight while Harrison Keddie returns in the six jersey. Prop Brok Harris packs down up front and will play his 100th Guinness PRO14 game.

Wales international Leon Brown and scrum-half Luke Baldwin are named among the replacements. A number of players are self-isolating due to community transmissions, including scrum half Rhodri Williams who misses the derby game.

John Mulvihill will be absent from Rodney Parade after being identified as a Covid-19 close contact but will be keeping a close eye on affairs from home. Wales’ Capital Region have triumphed over the Dragons in the last 10 Championship encounters, however the hosts go into the East Wales showdown on the back of three consecutive wins.

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DRAGONS TEAM VS CARDIFF BLUES:
Jonah Holmes
Owen Jenkins
Jack Dixon
Jamie Roberts(c)
Ashton Hewitt
Josh Lewis
Tavis Knoyle
Brok Harris
Elliot Dee
Lloyd Fairbrother
Ben Carter
Matthew Screech
Harrison Keddie
Taine Basham
Aaron Wainwright

Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Aaron Jarvis, Leon Brown, Lewis Evans, Huw Taylor, Luke Baldwin, Aneurin Owen, Evan Lloyd

Kick is at 3pm.

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