NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have raided the classroom by calling up schoolboy half backs Jonathan Evans and Lewis Robling for tomorrow night’s Magners League derby against the title chasing Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium.

Both have been named in a 25-strong squad, severely depleted by injury, and if they are on the bench and get on the two teenagers will find themselves up against some of the best players in the world in Shane Williams, Tommy Bowe, James Hook, Mike Phillips, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones and Jerry Collins.

Scrum half Evans and outside half Robling left school yesterday morning to go straight to a Dragons training session when they were introduced to their new teammates for the first time.

If Evans takes the field against the star-studded Ospreys team he will, at 17, be the youngest ever player to appear for the Dragons. He has been playing for Pontypool while Robling joined Newport from Newbridge in Division One East two months ago.

“These lads are the future, they were straight out of school and were introduced to the squad this morning,” said coach Paul Turner.

“There is no A squad, so we’ve dipped into the Premiership clubs and we’re really pleased that guys like Andrew Coombs, of Newport, and Lloyd Burns, of Cross Keys, have come in and done well. Then there’s Adam Greendale from Bedwas, Aaron Coundley from Ebbw Vale and Jevon Groves, also from Cross Keys, so we’re doing our bit for Welsh rugby.”

They are among 11 players who have been largely involved in the Premiership this season in the squad named for the Ospreys game.

The Dragons will be without injury victims Martyn Thomas, Aled Brew, Ashley Smith, Matthew Watkins, James Arlidge (unavailable), Luke Charteris, Dan Lydiate and Joe Bearman, who could have expected to start, as well as Danny Lee, Steve Jones, Duane Goodfield, Adam Jones and Grant Webb.

“We’ve got to get through this last game, but a year or two ago we couldn’t have put up with such an injury list,” said Turner.

“We’re working hard to keep the youngsters, there’s a good environment here with good new training facilities and they’re being coached well. I’m quite excited about the young players we’re taking to the Liberty.

“It shows we’re moving on and in the last five years I’ve been here I can’t put my finger on anyone who has impressed that much who has left, but those who have stayed have improved.

“There’s a good feeling up in the Valleys, I’m a Valley boy myself, it’s a slow process, but this season we’ve turned the corner. It’s a proud rugby area with a great history and in time the Valleys people are coming. Now we’ve got to go to the Liberty (the Dragons have never won on Ospreys territory) and we’ve got to front up and be physical.

“They have obviously got something on it, but we’ve played them twice this season and beaten them twice.”

Turner revealed he had deliberately kept Charteris out of the firing line so that he could fully recover from his neck problem and be available for Wales’ games against South Africa and New Zealand next month.

“I knew we’d qualified (for the Heineken Cup) after we beat Edinburgh and I decided that would be his last game of the season,” he said.

“He’d been carrying the injury for quite a time, but he’s had no physical contact since and it was the right thing to do to get him fit for the New Zealand tour.

“He’s dealing with the WRU and our medical people to give him a clean bill of health. Had he kept playing they’d be taking a broken player to New Zealand.”

Ospreys, Wales and Lions scrum half Mike Phillips says he is still being troubled by the ankle problem which kept him out for four months earlier in the season, but he still wants to go on the tour to New Zealand.

Dragons squad v Ospreys: A Hughes, W Harries, T Riley, R Gomer Davies, P Leach, R Fussell, M Pewtner, J Tovey, L Robling, A Greendale, W Evans, J Evans, A Coundley, P Palmer, B Castle, T Willis (captain), L Burns, H MacDonald, R Sidoli, A Coombs, T Faletau, L Evans, G Thomas, J Groves, J Harris.