Opportunity knocks after Dragons suffer Rhys Thomas injury blow
8:01am Wednesday 25th September 2013 in Sport
OPPORTUNITY knocks for Hugh Gustafson and Sam Parry while experienced Newport Gwent Dragons hooker Rhys Thomas is sidelined by an ankle injury.
The 30-year-old was forced from the field in the opening exchanges of the 23-16 RaboDirectPro12 win against the Scarlets at Rodney Parade.
He got his left leg trapped in a ruck and fell awkwardly. The initial prognosis is that he will be sidelined for three months, although the former Wales front row forward does not need an operation and is targetting a return in time for the festive derby double-header against his old region Cardiff Blues.
Thomas has swiftly established himself as a force at the Dragons following his summer move from London Wasps, starting all three Pro12 games and deputising for captain Andrew Coombs against Edinburgh.
"It's a shame because Rhys was playing well and he was enjoying his rugby here," said Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones.
"He is one of those experienced characters that adds a lot on the pitch and on the training field as well.
"It is a blow but it's not the end of the world and he'll be surprised by how quickly the three months goes."
Gustafson is poised to start against Munster on Saturday with Parry, who was called up to the Wales training squad last summer, in the matchday 23 for the first time this season.
Bright prospect Elliot Dee, who starred for Wales Under-20s in the Junior World Championship, will be their back-up.
Meanwhile the Dragons are considering moving for a new lock following Ian Nimmo's departure to London Irish on loan.
The region have Andrew Coombs, Matthew Screech, Rob Sidoli and Adam Jones currently on their books.
Nimmo's deal with the Exiles is initially for a month and getting the former Scotland age-grade international off the books would free up space for a new recruit.
"Ian is not qualified to play for Wales and that is something that we have to the fore of our minds when we are developing a squad," said Jones.
"London Irish came knocking on the door and I thought it would be a good idea for him to go on loan for a short period. It's up to him what develops next.
"We are looking and the squad is constantly shaping. When I arrived in June everything was in place and I just had to deal with it.
"It's only natural that any coach comes in and shapes things as he sees fit."
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