Wales wing Harries has to make way for returning flyer Evans
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have dropped Wales wing Will Harries for Friday’s RaboDirect Pro12 trip to high-flying Glasgow.
The 25-year-old, who has played in eight of the region’s nine fixtures, is a victim of the return of full-back Dan Evans after a two-week layoff because of a thumb injury.
He will play with a protective strapping on his left hand against the third-placed Warriors and his return will enable Tom Prydie, who is the Dragons’ goalkicker, to move back to the wing.
While Harries has not been in his most dazzling form, it would be harsh to suggest that a winger is at the root of the problem for the misfiring Dragons.
The three-times capped speedster hasn’t scored since crossing against Zebre on opening day but that is because he has been living off scraps.
Nonetheless, he will stay at home while his teammates fly to Scotland with director of rugby Robert Beale believing he has suffered because of others’ versatility.
“Will is not injured – it’s a straight forward selection issue,” he said.
“He has been slightly under par and misses out because of the return of Dan Evans at 15.
“We have chosen to go with Tonderai Chavhanga, Tom Prydie – with his valuable asset of goalkicking – and young Hallam Amos in the squad.
“In fact, we wanted to include Hallam last week against Ulster but couldn’t because of his national academy commitments, which was hugely disappointing.
“When you look at the make-up of the backs travelling to Glasgow there are several that can play in more than one position.
“To be fair to Will, he was pressed into playing full-back last season but he is an out and out right wing.”
Centre Andy Tuilagi also drops out of the squad. The Samoan scored against Ulster last week and carried powerfully but was exposed a number of times in defence.
The Dragons will be refereed by Italian official Marius Mitrea for the third time on their travels this season.
The region lost both the encounters that he took charge of – Leinster and Munster – and they will need to stay in his good books if they are to avoid a repeat of last season’s corresponding fixture.
Glasgow fly-half Duncan Weir rewrote the record books by knocking eight penalties from eight as the Warriors triumphed 24-19.
“It’s hugely important that we are squeaky clean because most teams in this league have kickers with very good percentages that rarely miss,” said Beale.
“Give penalties away in their range and they will put them over and we cannot afford to gift points to a very good Glasgow side.
“I don’t know how they will be affected by Scotland calls but they will be a tough nut to crack regardless of what squad they put out.
“Glasgow have become a formidable side and are performing very well at the moment.”
The Dragons are without centre Adam Hughes (hip), prop Owen Evans (shoulder) and hooker Sam Parry (shoulder).
Centre Jack Dixon and flanker Ieuan Jones are included after being at a Wales Under-20s skills camp with Amos last weekend.
Dragons squad: D Evans, T Prydie, T Chavhanga, H Amos, J Dixon, A Smith, P Leach, L Robling, Steffan Jones, J Evans, L Davies, P Price, N Williams, Steve Jones, H Gustafson, N Buck, D Way, T Ryan, R Sidoli, A Jones, I Nimmo, J Groves, T Brown, L Evans, I Jones, N Cudd.