THE Dragons have made seven changes to their XV for the United Rugby Championship clash with the Lions, but fly-half Will Reed is fit to pull the strings.

The Rodney Parade club had to field centre Steff Hughes at 10 for much of their 69-14 hammering by the 10-try Sharks in Durban last week.

Reed went off after half an hour because of a head injury and then Wales international Cai Evans, who had shifted forward from full-back, suffered the same fate.

With Angus O’Brien out with a fractured forearm, the Dragons were left with the prospect of fielding a makeshift fly-half at Ellis Park.

However, Reed has passed all of his return to play protocols and has been given the green light by specialists to start against the Lions.

South Wales Argus: Captain Steff Hughes training with the Dragons in Cape TownCaptain Steff Hughes training with the Dragons in Cape Town (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Head coach Dai Flanagan makes seven changes with Hughes returning to the XV and captaining the side from inside centre.

Full-back Jordan Williams makes his first appearance since round two after recovering from a back injury, Ashton Hewitt comes in on the wing and Rhodri Williams starts at scrum-half.

Up front there are returns for loosehead Rhodri Jones, tighthead Lloyd Fairbrother and flanker Harri Keddie, who is in for the injured Ollie Griffiths.

The Lions are unchanged, fielding the same 23 that scored nine tries when hammering Zebre 61-19.

The Dragons have never won in South Africa but came close at Ellis Park last season when drawing 31-31 in the Challenge Cup, with a late Sam Davies drop goal going agonisingly wide.

The Lions won the return fixture, moved to Ystrad Mynach because of a frozen pitch at Rodney Parade, 30-25 after also winning the URC game 33-25 in Johannesburg.

Dragons: Jordan Williams; Rio Dyer, Sio Tomkinson, Steff Hughes (captain), Ashton Hewitt; Will Reed, Rhodri Williams; Rhodri Jones, Bradley Roberts, Lloyd Fairbrother, Joe Davies, Ryan Woodman, Dane Blacker, Aneurin Owen, E Rosser.