Evans bolsters Keys' bid for another English scalp
8:01am Saturday 11th January 2014 in Gwent Rugby
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons scrum-half Jonathan Evans continues his comeback from injury for Cross Keys in the British and Irish Cup this afternoon, writes Chris Kirwan.
The 21-year-old, the Argus readers' Dragon of the Year for his 2012/13 exploits, will start against Ealing Trailfinders at Pandy Park (kick-off 3pm).
Evans made his return from a shoulder injury suffered in the LV= Cup win against London Wasps in November when he lined up for Bedwas on Boxing Day.
Today's encounter is another step towards a Dragons return and his presence will boost a Keys side that are looking to keep alive their slim hopes of making the knockout stages of the tournament.
They are chasing one of two best-placed runners-up spots after being downed twice by Leinster A in December.
Keys need to repeat their 2013 victories against Ealing and Moseley, ideally bagging a pair of bonus points in the process.
Even that is unlikely to be enough for a berth in the last eight but it would ensure the Pandy Park outfit maintain their impressive form that has put them right in the mix for the Premiership play-offs.
Dorian Jones will be Evans' half-back partner while Ollie and Dan Hodge are paired in the second row meaning that Tom Lampard, scorer of a hat-trick at Ealing, has to settle for a spot on the bench.
Bedwas stalwart Phil Sargent makes his debut at blindside flanker and will look to thrive alongside back row colleagues Scott Matthews and Adam Powell in what is sure to be a physical encounter.
- Championship leaders Ebbw Vale are not in action this weekend but Pontypool will aim to push on in their bid for second place.
Pooler are looking for their fifth league win on the spin when they travel to Newbridge Fields to take on Bridgend Athletic.
They were downed on their own turf by Newbridge in the Swalec Cup last weekend and the Welfare Ground outfit are chasing another win when they head to Tata Steel.
- Bedwas attempt to secure a Swalec Cup, round two home tie with Premiership rivals Cross Keys this afternoon.
Steve Law's side head to Championship outfit Bargoed for a clash that fell victim to the weather last weekend.
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