PROP Aaron Jarvis is recalled to the starting line-up as Dragons name the team to face champions Leinster Rugby in the opening game of the Guinness PRO14 season tomorrow evening (kick-off 8.15pm).

Former Wales international Jarvis is one of three changes from the team that faced Bristol Bears in Europe last time out as Dean Ryan’s men travel to Ireland and the RDS Arena in Dublin.

Lock Joe Maksymiw is named and will partner Joe Davies in the second row while full back Will Talbot-Davies is also called into the starting line-up.

Leon Brown and Jordan Williams miss the league fixture through injury.

Changes to the bench see a place for loosehead prop Conor Maguire, who featured for Leinster at age grade level.

Scrum half Tavis Knoyle is also named on the bench and could make his 100th appearance in the Guinness PRO14 if he features at the RDS.

Knoyle, who has played for all four regions, stands just one game short of the milestone, having made his league debut back in April 2009.


“We’re excited to start the season and the task ahead of us on the opening night,” said Director of Dragons Rugby, Dean Ryan.

“Leinster remain the team to beat in the Guinness PRO14 and have a huge amount of depth, which is the envy of many teams.

“But that is part of the excitement, when you play against the best you always face quality and we know the level of performance that we will need out in Ireland.”

Ryan admits his team have been handed an ultra-tough start to the new campaign – just weeks after the European Challenge Cup quarter-final with Bristol Bears.

But he insists his side must embrace the challenge as it is the only way they will improve and be competitive at the highest level.

“There are two ways of looking at this fixture,” said Ryan.

“You are either daunted by going to Leinster or really excited by the challenge.

“We’ve had a strange start to the season in that two weeks ago we played a quarter-final.

“A quarter-final against Bristol Bears after six months doing nothing and then into Leinster who got wounded in Europe last time out.

“There are easier ways to wander into a season, but for us we are really excited.

“If we played Leinster six weeks later in the middle of the autumn series then we would definitely still be challenged."

Dragons: Will Talbot-Davies, Jonah Holmes, Nick Tompkins, Jamie Roberts, Ashton Hewitt, Sam Davies, Rhodri Williams (c); Brok Harris, Elliot Dee, Aaron Jarvis, Joe Davies, Joe Maksymiw, Aaron Wainwright, Harrison Keddie, Ross Moriarty

Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Conor Maguire, Lloyd Fairbrother, Matthew Screech, Taine Basham, Tavis Knoyle, Josh Lewis, Adam Warren