Dragons stick with young No10s
GLASGOW v DRAGONS (Tonight, KO 7.30)
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have resisted the temptation to go for the experience of Dan Evans at 10 and have named Lewis Robling at fly-half for this evening’s RaboDirect Pro12 clash at Glasgow.
The Dragons have plumped for the 21-year-old with Steffan Jones, the same age as his rival, his back-up on the bench.
Neither outside half has really made the shirt their own this season, albeit they have been trying to give direction to a side that is struggling for form and failing to provide enough ball on the front foot.
An alternative was to throw the number 10 jersey to Evans, who returns at full-back following a two-week layoff with thumb injury.
However, the coaching staff have opted to leave the two-times capped Wales international at 15, where his large left boot will be put to good use.
“Moving Dan to 10 has certainly been discussed and in previous games he has been the back-up fly-half,” said director of rugby Robert Beale.
“We are running with two outside halves in the matchday squad tonight and I think the coaches will resist the temptation (to start Evans there) in the future because we are trying to develop Steffan and Lewis.
“To add a third person to that equation would make that quite difficult, but Dan is always an option and you never say never.”
Beale has, however, fired a warning shot to the pair of inexperienced fly-halves and told them that they need to start producing the goods.
“We made a commitment at the back end of last season to have faith in these two young men,” he said.
“We decided not to recruit there and give them ample opportunity to secure their futures at the region.
“If the decision pays off then we will end up with two talented outside halves that should be playing here for the foreseeable future.
“If it doesn’t then we are in the market place. That’s the harsh reality of the world that we are in.
“I don’t think that it’s over dramatic to say that they have got to stand up and show that they are the right men for the job.
“They have both shared the duties and we have got faith in them – they are learning week by week, game by game.
“They are very different styles of fly-halves and we have seen glimpses of what they can do “The coaches have had confidence in them and it’s up to them to stake their claims for a regular spot.”
The Dragons pair Ashley Smith and Pat Leach together in midfield for the first time this season while there is a new look back row in the absence of Wales star Toby Faletau.
Tom Brown slots in at number eight with captain Lewis Evans, who missed last week’s loss to Ulster, returning at blindside flanker and Nic Cudd getting the nod at openside.
Taylor Paris, the youngest player capped by Canada at both sevens and full international level, will make his Glasgow debut on the wing while Argentina prop German Araoz is also in line for his first Warriors appearance off the bench.