United Rugby Championship: Dragons fly to South Africa without Wales forwards

URC: Sharks v Dragons (Sat)
Venue: Kings Park Stadium, Durban Date: Saturday, 25 November Kick off: 17:15 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C and via iPlayer. Match report and highlights on the BBC Sport website and app. Highlights on Scrum V, Sunday, BBC Two Wales and online, Sunday, 26 November from 18:00 GMT and later on demand.

Dragons’ two-match journey to play South African teams will be marred by the absence of Argentina scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou and four injured Wales international forwards.

Elliot Dee, Ben Carter, Dan Lydiate, and Leon Brown will not play in the United Rugby Championship (URC) matchups against the Sharks and Lions.

Of the thirty-man team, the quartet is one of the fourteen absent players.

Taine Basham, a flanker for Wales, is also not present due to suspension.

Both flanker Lydiate and hooker Dee have rib injuries, lock Carter sustained a hamstring strain during the 20–5 victory over the Ospreys, while prop Brown is experiencing calf pain.

Lydiate, who transferred from the Ospreys to the Dragons this season, is expected to be sidelined until the end of 2023 after breaking his ribs during Leinster’s 33-10 victory earlier this month.

Head coach Dai Flanagan stated, “Dan has fractured a rib and that is a six-week injury for a normal human being. I am sure he will be back quicker.”

“He claimed to have done it early in the Leinster game, pushing it in and having it come out. He also claimed to have dislocated and then reattached a finger while running. It is unlike anything I have ever seen.

“When the Ospreys played us at the conclusion of the previous season, he was outstanding. He appeared to be a player with a new lease of life and a spring in his stride, much as he does for Wales.”

Despite having returned from the World Cup in France, Bertranou has not yet played for the Dragons in the current campaign.

Additionally absent from South Africa are Harri Ackerman, Jack Dixon, Rodrigo Martinez, Angus O’Brien, Josh Reynolds, Jared Rosser, David Richards, and Joe Westwood.

Despite losing their first four league games, Flanagan’s team triumphed over the Ospreys at Rodney Parade last weekend to start the 2023–24 season.

On Saturday, November 25, the Dragons take on the Sharks in Durban. Seven days later, they travel to Johannesburg to play the Lions.

“We’re looking forward to the trip and the two games, on the back of a positive performance and result against Ospreys,” Flanagan said.

“Playing the Sharks, who have a roster full of superstars, will be a huge challenge in their large stadium.

We are enthusiastic about the test, and the outcome will speak for itself. It matters that we execute effectively and maintain the momentum we generated against the Ospreys.

“We’ll then travel to Cape Town for a training week before the game in Johannesburg against Lions, which will be another huge test for us before our attention turns to European competition.”

Dragons kick off their European Challenge Cup campaign against French side Oyonnax at Rodney Parade on Saturday, 9 December (20:00 GMT).

Dragons squad

Forwards: Rhodri Jones, Aki Seiuli, Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths, Bradley Roberts, James Benjamin, Brodie Coghlan, Lloyd Fairbrother, Chris Coleman, Luke Yendle, Matthew Screech, Joe Davies, George Nott, Sean Lonsdale, Harri Keddie, Ryan Woodman, Ollie Griffiths, Aaron Wainwright.

Backs: Dane Blacker, Rhodri Williams, Lewis Jones, Will Reed, Cai Evans, Aneurin Owen, Corey Baldwin, Steff Hughes (capt), Sio Tomkinson, Rio Dyer, Ashton Hewitt, Ewan Rosser, Jordan Williams.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button