WALES forward Cory Hill will return to his favoured position of lock for the Dragons’ crunch European Challenge Cup clash with Enisei-STM at Rodney Parade tomorrow (kick-off 8pm).

Hill was named in the Six Nations squad on Wednesday when head coach Wayne Pivac spoke about the possibility of the 27-year-old being an option in the back row.

The Wales boss revealed that he had worked in collaboration with Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan to field the 24-times capped international as a blindside.

“We’ve got a lot of second rows and want Cory to be that Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Scott Barrett type of player,” said Pivac.

“Depending on conditions and opposition, he can be considered as a six or a second row and certainly having him in a matchday 23 gives us more options and more cover.”

Seven of Hill’s last eight starts for the region have been with 6 on his back but he returns to his specialist position of lock to face the Russians.

That allows Ryan to field a dynamic back row of Wales internationals Ross Moriarty and Aaron Wainwright with dynamic prospect Taine Basham as the Dragons hunt tries against the group whipping boys.

To make the quarter-finals the Dragons need to win with a bonus point and then hope a freak result doesn’t happen in Worcester.

If the Warriors win with a bonus point and Castres gain two bonuses then all three teams will finish Pool One on 20 points and it will be Ryan’s men that miss out.

The Dragons are taking no chances in their bid for a five-point haul with all five of their Six Nations contingent starting.

South Wales Argus:

Hill is joined in the pack by hooker Elliot Dee, tighthead Leon Brown, Wainwright and Moriarty.

Ryan makes three changes to the XV that lost 42-14 in Castres last weekend with Wainwright coming in for lock Joe Davies, centre Adam Warren back after a late withdrawal because of a nosebleed and full-back Carwyn Penny given a first regional start after coming off the bench at the Stade Pierre-Fabre.

Tighthead Lloyd Fairbrother continues to deputise at loosehead in the absence of the suspended Brok Harris and injured Aaron Jarvis.

The Dragons will make the last eight – where they would go on their travels – as long as it’s not a tense try-fest in the West Midlands.

South Wales Argus:

“Our performances in Europe have been some of our high points this season and now we have an opportunity to qualify,” said Ryan.

“It’s important we get our preparation right. Enisei have struggled in the group, but this game can trip you up. Tough weather conditions can also make the margins closer.

“We’ve got to concentrate on winning and getting five points. There are many permutations in the pool stages, but those are just distractions.

“Our focus is on winning and then we will see where we end up come the end of the weekend.”

“It’s an experience I want us to enjoy,” he added. “This group has had some troubled times so it would be good to get reward and recognition for what we have achieved in Europe.”

Dragons: C Penny, J Rosser, A Warren, T Griffiths, R Dyer, S Davies, T Knoyle, L Fairbrother, E Dee, L Brown, M Screech, C Hill (captain), A Wainwright, T Basham, R Moriarty. Replacements: E Shipp, J Reynolds, C Coleman, J Davies, H Keddie, L Baldwin, J Botica, T Morgan.

Enisei-STM: Enisei-STM: E Douwrie, D Meskhi, D Kacharava, D Gerasimov, B Basson, R Gaisin, A Shcherban, N Khatiashvili, S Magomedov, I Zykov, U Saulite (captain), E Elgin, M Gachechiladze, A Temnov, D Krotov. Replacements: S Selskii, E Westhuizen, A Musin, J Jordaan, N Churashov, K Uzunov, J Baranovs, V Nemtsev.

Referee: Joy Neville (Ireland)