Dragons Told To Muscle Up For French Mission

Dragons skills coach Barry Maddocks says his side must be ready to muscle up when they face Bordeaux-Begles in France on Saturday night.

Head coach Bernard Jackman has made 10 changes to the team thrashed by the Scarlets last week, knowing a victory will put them second in Challenge Cup Pool 1 with one game to play.

Maddocks said: “It’s no secret that the French league is a power-based game with big packs dominating territory so we will be looking to play an expansive game.

 “Their pack is extremely strong and they are a very powerful unit that dominate in the line-outs and scrum.

“They like to play a territory game to get their pack going forward and they play an around the corner style of game. We are expecting a physical confrontation, for sure.

“They have some talent out wide but their strength is up front and they will come for us with their power game.”

The Dragons have won six of their last eight pool games against Top 14 opposition, although both defeats in that run came in France.

Angus O’Brien and Ashton Hewitt return to the back three for the clash to play alongside wing Jared Rosser. There is one change in the centre partnership as Adam Warren returns, with Jack Dixon retaining his position in the midfield. Dorian Jones returns to the halfbacks as well as South African scrum-half Sarel Pretorius.

The front row sees the return of Welsh International Elliot Dee, who is joined by props Thomas Davies and Lloyd Fairbrother, whilst the second row sees the inclusion of Rynard Landman who made his 100th appearance for the region last weekend, and skipper Cory Hill. The back-row sees James Benjamin move from No.8 to flanker as Robson Blake returns to the starting XV, alongside flanker Aaron Wainwright.

The bench has had a total reshuffle as Gavin Henson returns to the matchday squad.

 Dragons team to face Bordeaux-Begles

15 Angus O’Brien, 14 Ashton Hewitt, 13 Adam Warren, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Jared Rosser, 10 Dorian Jones, 9 Sarel Pretorius; 1 Thomas Davies, 2 Elliot Dee, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 4 Rynard Landman, 5 Cory Hill ©, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 7 James Benjamin, 8 Robson Blake.

Replacements; Liam Belcher, Luke Garrett, Sam Hobbs, Joe Davies, Carl Meyer, Dan Babos, Gavin Henson, Pat Howard.


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