7:02am Wednesday 8th January 2014
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons welcome back Wales wing Tom Prydie for Saturday's Amlin Challenge Cup clash with Bath at Rodney Parade, writes Chris Kirwan.
The 21-year-old has been out of action since suffering a hamstring injury while training with the national squad in November.
The blow forced the five-times capped speedster to sit out seven fixtures, including the festive RaboDirect Pro12 derby double-header with Cardiff Blues, but he is back in contention for the European encounter with the Pool Two table-toppers (kick-off 2.30pm).
Director of rugby Lyn Jones hopes that Prydie can pick up where he left off before the blow suffered in the Wales camp.
"Tom was in form when he had an unfortunate injury," said the Dragons boss. "He has shown promise throughout his career and has always needed to settle and have a run of games.
"He was having that at the start of the year and we were looking to kick his game on through the December period. It's nice to have him back and he will be keen to get on the paddock.
"Tom brings an all-round game and is very tidy in what he does. His defensive game is good and his kicking game is excellent, he has a little bit of work to do with his confidence in attack in order to challenge for national honours again but that will come.
"All players need to be confident and to be confident they need to be picked and playing well, so this is the first rung on the ladder for him."
The Dragons are without Fijian back row forward Netani Talei, who is resting a heel injury, while lock Cory Hill is absent while the medical staff assess an ankle injury suffered in training over the festive period.
Prop Phil Price and fly-half/centre Lewis Robling are back in light training following hip and knee problems respectively and should be in contention for next week's clash with Mogliano.
Openside flanker Darren Waters is back in light training after rupturing knee ligaments in pre-season and should be back to full training by February.
Only a Bath implosion over the next fortnight will prevent the West Country outfit from qualifying for the last eight of the tournament.
The English outfit have won all four games so far and are eight points clear of the Dragons, who they overpowered 26-10 in round two, and nine ahead of Bordeaux-Begles.
If they fail to complete the job at Rodney Parade then they get another crack when they welcome the Frenchmen to the Rec in round six.
Dragons squad: D Evans, T Prydie, W Harries, M Pewtner, A Hughes, R Wardle, A Smith, P Leach, J Tovey, S Jones, K Burton, R Rees, W Evans, J Evans, L Jones, O Evans, A Coundley, H Gustafson, N Williams, R Thomas, S Parry, E Dee, D Way, F Chaparro, N Buck, A Coombs, R Sidoli, M Screech, A Jones, J Groves, N Cudd, L Evans, T Faletau, I Jones.
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