Comeback kid Darren Waters itching for action
PLENTY have been cursing the bad weather in recent weeks and there could be some more grumbling after Newport Gwent Dragons’ LV= Cup clash with London Welsh.
Flanker Darren Waters makes his first appearance of the season for the visitors at the Kassam Stadium.
The 27-year-old has been like a caged tiger over the past fortnight after being denied the chance for a first hit out since rupturing knee ligaments in the Dragons’ final pre-season clash against London Irish in August.
Waters was meant to feature for Newport against Connacht and Bonymaen only for snow and then torrential rain to force postponements.
Head coach Darren Edwards said: “He has been like a Duracell bunny, full of energy and just hasn’t slowed down in training.
“Darren has always been a player with great energy and commitment but the weather left him busting even more to get on the field.
“He just wants to play and it’s going to be great to see him back out there.
“But he’s not just looking to make a return – he is going out there to win the seven shirt.
“Darren has seen how well our back row has gone recently and want to be a part of it.”
The Dragons are still captained by an Evans but it’s scrum-half Wayne that leads them while flanker Lewis is rested.
London Welsh welcome Gavin Henson back to their matchday squad following a calf injury that has sidelined him since November.
The 33-times capped Wales star is on the bench and former Dragons coach Lyn Jones will be wanting his side to impress as they start a crunch month in terms of their Aviva Premiership future.
They currently lead Sale, who they host in a fortnight’s time, by 10 and London Irish by five in the scramble to avoid the drop.
“It would be a great achievement if they manage to stay up and they would deserve all the credit in the world,” said Edwards.
“To be where they are in the Premiership table is testament to their hard work so far. They’ve put themselves in a great position to achieve something that not many thought they could do.
“Lyn and his coaches have done an exceptional job.”
The hosts have former Dragons Adam Brown and James Lewis on their bench while former Wales centre Sonny Parker starts.
Neither side can qualify for the semi-finals.
London Welsh: T Voyce, J Ajuwa, G Tiesi, S Parker, P MacKenzie, R Davis, A Davies, T Bristow, N Briggs, G Bateman, J Mills, M Corker, L Beach (captain), D Browne, R Newman. Replacements: G Evans, F Montanella, J Tideswell, A Brown, E Williamson, T Keats, G Henson, J Lewis.
Dragons: H Amos, M Pewtner, P Leach, J Dixon, T Prydie, S Jones, W Evans (captain), O Evans, H Gustafson, D Way, I Nimmo, A Jones, J Groves, D Waters, I Jones. Replacements: S Parry, P Price, N Williams, J Tyler, N Cudd, R Downes, A Smith, D Evans.