Dragons back rower Lewis Evans searching for seven heaven
9:01am Thursday 19th September 2013 in Sport
AFTER playing at six and eight so far this season, Newport Gwent Dragons back row forward Lewis Evans is prepared to start thinking like a seven.
The 26-year-old is ready to move to the openside against the Scarlets at Rodney Parade tomorrow if Nic Cudd fails to recover from a bump to the shoulder.
Having battled for starts through the years with players of the calibre of Dan Lydiate, Toby Faletau, Michael Owen, Colin Charvis, Gavin Thomas and Joe Bearman, versatility has always been an asset for Evans.
Back row remains an area of strength for the Dragons and he is happy to keep moving if that means spots in the starting XV.
Last week he shifted to openside when Cudd was forced off against Edinburgh, forming a triumvirate with Wales star Faletau and Fijian Netani Talei.
Playing alongside a pair of powerhouses required a change of tact at Murrayfield and he is happy to be a scavenger if required against the Scarlets.
"There is a slight different emphasis when playing openside and (director of rugby) Lyn Jones has already mentioned that I need to have more of a seven mindset when I move there," said Evans.
"We have Cuddy and Darren Waters at the region, they are tough individuals that love the battle of the contact area and sum up what a seven is.
"I watch their performances and I'll look at the video of Cuddy (against Ulster) to see what he does well.
"And Lyn, being an ex-seven, is massive on running lines and those little extras that lots of people don't notice.
"I'll look to pick up some tips and look forward to the game whatever the position, six, seven or eight."
The Scarlets head east with a formidable record against the Dragons, having won the last 10 league encounters since losing on New Year's Day 2008.
Evans has a horrid record against the west Walians – played 10, won two, lost eight – but is hopeful of change of fortune.
"There is a lot on this," he said. "Derbies are key and we like to test ourselves against our Welsh counterparts.
"We've made a lot of progress since pre-season and this is a good measure to see where we are and to also get rid of that fourth region tag.
"It's been frustrating against them over the past few years and performances have let us down, especially last year when we didn't turn up at Parc y Scarlets early on in the season.
"Lyn's biggest thing has been to change the mindset here. He hasn't reinvented the wheel, just created a competitive environment where we fight for each other and the management.
"He has given us confidence, belief and empowered the players. I feel we've grown as a team and individuals and this game is massive if we are to keep developing."
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