Dragons take on defending champions Munster in Cork

Dragons take on defending champions Munster in Cork

Wales international Taine Basham makes his first start of the season as Dragons RFC face reigning BKT United Rugby Championship champions Munster Rugby on Saturday evening (kick-off 5.15pm).

Scrum half Rhodri Williams will also make his 100th appearance for the club as Head Coach Dai Flanagan makes 10 changes for the Round 3 encounter at Musgrave Park.

The Men of Gwent are without 20 players - due to international call-ups and injury - so a number of exciting young talents get the chance to impress in Cork.

The pack sees six new faces with Basham playing at Number Eight in the back row alongside Wales Under-20s captain Ryan Woodman – set for his first start for the club – and James Benjamin. Joe Davies comes into the second row alongside George Nott.

Props Rhodri Jones and Luke Yendle – who also makes his first ever start for Dragons – pack down alongside hooker Bradley Roberts up front.

Young fly half Will Reed makes his first start of the campaign – with Angus O’Brien moving to full back – and is paired with centurion Rhodri Williams.

Centre Jack Dixon and wing Corey Baldwin also win call-ups. The team is once again captained by Steff Hughes.

A new-look bench sees Aki Seuili step up for a first appearance this term while prop Nathan Evans, lock Barney Langton-Cryer and back Ewan Rosser could all make their club debuts.

Referencing his selection this week, Flanagan said: “We need to live in an environment where it’s about the next man up - that's what this this week presents us.

“To build a squad you’ve got to give people experiences. Ideally you do it around the best group of players you have available, but sometimes your back is against the wall, you’ve got to come out swinging. That's the opportunity we have this week.

“We’ve got a few youngsters on show with points to prove and opportunities they want to take. It's a huge chance for us to test ourselves against the champions.”

Dragons RFC: Angus O’Brien, Corey Baldwin, Steff Hughes (c), Jack Dixon, Ashton Hewitt, Will Reed, Rhodri Williams; Rhodri Jones, Bradley Roberts, Luke Yendle, Joe Davies, George Nott, Ryan Woodman, James Benjamin, Taine Basham

Replacements: Brodie Coghlan, Aki Seiuli, Nathan Evans, Barney Langton-Cryer, George Young, Dane Blacker, Aneurin Owen, Ewan Rosser

Unavailable (20): Leon Brown, Ben Carter, Elliot Dee, Rio Dyer, Cai Evans, Lloyd Fairbrother, Dan Lydiate, Aaron Wainwright (all Wales), Harri Ackerman (shoulder), Chris Coleman (hamstring), Ollie Griffiths (knock), Lewis Jones (cheekbone), Harrison Keddie (concussion), Sean Lonsdale (concussion), Rodrigo Martinez (calf), David Richards (back), Jared Rosser (knock), Matthew Screech (back), Joe Westwood (leg), Jordan Williams (knock)

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