Dragons get their kicks from shootout
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons’ kickers are having a shootout to earn the kicking duties in Friday’s RaboDirect Pro12 encounter with Edinburgh.
Wing Tom Prydie has been the man with the responsibility from the tee in all four games so far but has endured a slight wobble of late.
The 20-year-old, who was the top points scorer in the Junior World Championship last summer, missed three against Cardiff Blues and a costly pair against Munster last week.
That performance in Limerick, which was in contrast to Ireland and Lions star Ronan O’Gara’s imperious display, saw Lewis Robling take over and the young fly-half nailed his two shots at goal.
The Dragons possess five kickers in the squad for Friday’s clash against their in-form Scottish rivals – Prydie, Robling, fly-half Steffan Jones, centre/wing Adam Hughes and full-back Dan Evans.
They were under close scrutiny when they took part in a session at Rodney Parade yesterday and they will be battling for responsibility when they line up shots at the sticks tomorrow.
“It’s tempting to flick a coin for it!” said head coach Darren Edwards. “But the guy that steps up in the two sessions this week will get the kicking duties.
“These are young guys and it’s good to challenge them and take them out of their comfort zone.
“Lewis Robling has been our best kicker on the training ground and I was pleased that he showed plenty of confidence to put over two kicks when he took over against Munster. He was determined and showed great mental toughness.”
First, though, a potential kicker must earn a place in the starting line-up and the Dragons make just one change to last week’s extended squad for the Munster game with tighthead Nathan Buck replacing Tim Ryan.
Back row forwards Toby Faletau and Lewis Evans took a full part in training yesterday after suffering from ankle and calf problems respectively and are poised to return to the starting line-up.
Lock Rob Sidoli is not quite back in contention (calf) while speedster Tonderai Chavhanga is still working his way back to fitness following summer surgery on his knee.
The South Africa international wing may be back in contention when the Amlin Challenge Cup starts away at London Wasps on October 13.
Wayne Evans (back) and Joe Bedford (shoulder) are still out meaning that Jonathan Evans can build on a highly promising start to the campaign at scrum-half with Bedwas’ Liam Davies backing him up.
Dragons squad: D Evans, T Prydie, W Harries, A Hughes, A Tuilagi, P Leach, A Smith, L Robling, Steffan Jones, J Evans, L Davies, P Price, A Coundley, Steve Jones, S Parry, D Way, N Buck, I Nimmo, A Jones, H Stoddart, L Evans, T Faletau, T Brown, D Lydiate, J Groves.