LOCK Ian Nimmo is back in contention for selection for Newport Gwent Dragons’ Amlin Challenge Cup finale against Wasps, much to the surprise of his coaches.
The region were prepared to be without the 27-year-old for two months after he injured his knee in the away defeat to Mogliano in December.
However, the summer signing from Cornish Pirates is back way ahead of schedule and could feature in the Dragons’ final European clash against Pool Three winners Wasps.
“I have never heard of anyone recovering as fast from a grade three (injury to knee ligaments),” admitted head coach Darren Edwards.
“It was a long-term injury and to be honest we weren’t expecting him to be back in the mix.
“He has done his work and is back and it’s good timing because Adam Jones has a hip niggle.”
The news isn’t as good on flying winger Tonderai Chavhanga, who faces another scan on his injured knee.
The damage sustained against Connacht in Galway isn’t thought to be serious but could keep the former Springboks speedster sidelined for a few more weeks.
The Dragons name their side this afternoon and are waiting to see if they get the all clear on Nimmo and fly-half/full-back Dan Evans, who has returned to training after missing the last three games with an ankle injury.
It would be a major boost if they get the green light as the region attempts to claim their first proper scalp of the European campaign following a pair of narrow losses to Bayonne and a thumping at the hands of Wasps at Adams Park.
Dai Young’s side have already secured top spot in the group but head to Rodney Parade needing to win to earn a home quarter-final.
There will also be close scrutiny on their selection in the back row amid a kerfuffle surrounding number eight Billy Vunipola. The 20-year-old, who is Toby Faletau’s cousin, will leave the club and join Aviva Premiership rivals Saracens next season, linking up with his brother Mako.
“We are clearly hugely disappointed,” said director of rugby Young.
“During our contract talks, the player had been adamant that he did not want to leave the club, but we know he was under pressure for family reasons to go and join his brother at Saracens.”
Dragons squad: H Amos, T Prydie, M Poole, W Harries, A Hughes, J Dixon, A Smith, S Jones, D Evans, W Evans, J Evans, P Price, O Evans, H Gustafson, S Parry, N Buck, D Way, R Sidoli, A Coombs, I Nimmo, J Groves, L Evans, I Jones, T Faletau, N Cudd.