Hughes fresh and raring to go after injury lay-off
BAYONNE v DRAGONS (Tomorrow, KO 7.45)
A HECTIC festive schedule means that there are some weary bodies in the Newport Gwent Dragons squad that travels to France today but centre Adam Hughes is fresh and raring to go.
The Rodney Parade region are set to ring the changes for their Amlin Challenge Cup clash in Bayonne tomorrow evening – their fourth game in 15 days.
But tiredness cannot be an excuse for Hughes, who will be outside centre at the Stade Jean Dauger.
The 22-year-old made his return in the defeat to Connacht last Saturday after 10 weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
“It was frustrating because I was originally only meant to be out for two weeks,” said the centre.
“The medical team did all they could and I think that we got the formula right – you don’t want to take any risks with hamstring injuries and the heavy pitches wouldn’t have done me any favours.
“It was better to play it safe and hopefully I will have a good run until the end of the season now.
“Obviously things didn’t go too well at Connacht (the Dragons lost 30-11) but personally I enjoyed the game and getting back out there after that time out.
“We didn’t get the result or the performance but can’t dwell on it because of the short turnaround.
“It will be a good challenge because games against French teams are always exciting.
“There is talk of Bayonne making changes but we know roughly what will come at us – they will be direct but have that flair to hurt us as well.”
The Dragons will make plenty of changes to their line-up with props Nathan Williams and Tim Ryan, flanker Jevon Groves and wing Mike Poole all returning to the squad after being sent out for action in the Premiership last weekend.
Fly-half Dan Evans (ankle) and centre Pat Leach (head) are not included but could be in contention for the final group game against Wasps next Thursday.
Props Phil Price and Dan Way are rested while full-back Hallam Amos is unavailable because he is sitting an A-level exam on Friday.
The Dragons are waiting to learn the extent of the damage to wing Tonderai Chavhanga and number eight Tom Brown after they suffered knee and ankle injuries respectively in the defeat in Galway.
Dragons squad: T Prydie, M Poole, W Harries, A Hughes, J Dixon, A Tuilagi, A Smith, S Jones, L Robling, W Evans, J Evans, N Williams, O Evans, H Gustafson, S Parry, N Buck, T Ryan, R Sidoli, A Jones, A Coombs, J Groves, L Evans, I Jones, T Faletau, N Cudd.