TREVISO v DRAGONS (Saturday, KO 3pm)
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons head coach Darren Edwards has called on Steffan Jones and Lewis Robling to rise to the challenge set them by Dan Evans.
After spending most of his professional life at full back, Evans has been excellent since switching to outside half. Edwards hailed the ex-Scarlet for his performance in Friday’s 14-3 win when he won his kicking duel with Connacht’s tactical general, Dan Parks.
The Dragons face a tough challenge this weekend when they travel to Treviso but are buoyed by last week’s victory which halted a seven-match losing run. The Italians did the double over the region last season and Edwards hopes Evans will be firing again as they seek revenge.
“Dan has done really well at ten and was a huge factor in the territory game against Connacht,” he said.
“Dan Parks started that game so well in the first ten minutes, we just couldn’t get of our half.
“But then our Dan Evans stepped up and he started pulling the strings.
“I think he won the duel with Parks and the variety of his kicking game was excellent.”
Fly half is not such a strange position for the 24-year-old who made his Dragons debut at No 10 in the 30-20 home defeat to Northampton a fortnight ago.
“Dan started life as a ten and he enjoys getting his hands on the ball,” Edwards added. “He wants to influence the game. We try to get the ball into his hands as much as possible when he plays 15 and now he’s at ten, he is enjoying himself.”
On young fly halves Robling and Jones, who have suffered with their form this season, Edwards said: “They are certainly still in our plans – now they’ve got to respond to the challenge that Dan’s laid down.
“If those guys do that, we are going to have a number of good tens here.”
The Dragons will stay in Italy for this weekend’s Treviso showdown and their Amlin Challenge Cup clash against Mogliano the Saturday after.
Dragons squad for Treviso: Backs – T Prydie, T Chavhanga, W Harries, A Tuilagi, P Leach, J Dixon, A Smith, L Robling, D Evans, J Evans, W Evans. Forwards – L Evans, N Cudd, I Jones, T Brown, J Groves, R Sidoli, A Jones, I Nimmo, D Way, N Buck, T Ryan, S Parry, H Gustafson, S Jones, O Evans, P Price, N Williams.