THE Dragons have given starting debuts to three summer signings in tomorrow's United Rugby Championship opener against Edinburgh.

Full-back Cai Evans, wing Corey Baldwin and loosehead prop Rodrigo Martinez will start at Rodney Parade (kick-off 3.05pm) while scrum-half Dane Blacker is set for his bow off the bench.

Evans was named in the Wales squad for the uncapped Barbarians fixture on Thursday as a back-up fly-half for Sam Costelow.

However, he has been signed from the Ospreys as a 15, where he won his first cap against South Africa in a World Cup warm-up, and head coach Dai Flanagan has named his two frontline 10s in the first matchday squad of the season.

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Angus O’Brien has been passed fit to pull the strings despite not featuring in the pre-season wins against the Ospreys and a Scarlets due to a niggle with Will Reed among the replacements.

South Wales Argus: CENTURY: Dragons back rower Ollie Griffiths will hit three figures for the clubCENTURY: Dragons back rower Ollie Griffiths will hit three figures for the club

Dynamic back rower Ollie Griffiths will lead the side out on his 100th Dragons appearance but there is no place in the 23 for Wales tighthead Leon Brown.

He was named in the squad to face the Baa Baas at the start of next month but is not rushed back for the URC opener after having minor niggles in pre-season.

The 23-times capped prop, who was limited to three club appearances and a Six Nations outing off the bench after neck surgery last season, has played a full part in training but sat out the two friendlies.

Lloyd Fairbrother starts at tighthead with Luke Yendle, who had been set for a loan spell in the English Championship with Ampthill, on the bench due to Chris Coleman also being sidelined.

Sio Tomkinson has won the fierce battle to be captain Steff Hughes’ partner in midfield with Jack Dixon on the bench, meaning Tomkinson covers the wing and O’Brien full-back.

The Dragons are without their five Wales players that featured in the World Cup – back rowers Aaron Wainwright, Dan Lydiate and Taine Basham, hooker Elliot Dee and wing Rio Dyer – plus Argentina scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou, who will be involved in the tournament until the final weekend.

“Edinburgh play an expansive brand of rugby, with quick taps and energy," said Flanagan.

"They’ve also got a strong driving lineout with the new coach Sean Everitt there, so they have a balanced game. It’s important we cover all bases.”

Edinburgh give starts to summer signings Ben Healy and Javan Sebastian at fly-half and tighthead after their return from Scotland World Cup duty.

Sam Skinner, Dave Cherry and Luke Crosbie also feature after the Scots’ early exit courtesy of their group of death with Ireland and South Africa.

“The players said they are going to be a hard-working, resilient, physical and abrasive team – and that’s what we need to see in Newport, because that’s what it’s going to take to win the game," said Everitt.

Dragons: C Evans; Baldwin, Tomkinson, Hughes (captain), J Rosser; O’Brien, R Williams; Martinez, Roberts, Fairbrother, Screech, Carter, Nott, Keddie, Griffiths.

Replacements: Benjamin, R Jones, Yendle, J Davies, Lonsdale, Blacker, Reed, Dixon.

Edinburgh: Scott; McCann, Bennett, Currie, Goosen; Healy, Vellacott; Venter, Cherry, Sebastian, Young, Hodgson, Skinner, Neild, Dodd.

Replacements: McBurney, Hislop, A Williams, Sykes, Crosbie, Shiel, Dean, Edmunds.

Referee: Eoghan Cross (Ireland)