9:04am Friday 21st March 2014
AFTER seven weeks kicking his heels on the sidelines full-back Dan Evans hopes to give Newport Gwent Dragons a shot in the arm against Connacht, writes Chris Kirwan.
The 25-year-old, who is heading to the Ospreys next season because of the arrival of Lee Byrne from Clermont Auvergne, only has himself to blame for his mid-season break.
A tip tackle on centre Adam Powell in the LV= Cup defeat to Newcastle on January 31 saw him slapped with a five-week ban.
The timing couldn't have been worse; ankle injuries deprived the Dragons of Tom Prydie and Hallam Amos and forced them to turn to Cross Keys full-back Rhys Jones against Glasgow and Ulster.
Evans, who has made 20 appearances this season, will be back at 15 for Sunday's Rodney Parade encounter with Connacht (kick-off 3.05pm) and hopes to make up for lost time.
"It's a big relief to be back," he said. "I've had a good few weeks of training hard and now I can't wait to get out onto the field and play.
"It's given me a rest and I don't have any niggles, I feel refreshed and hopefully I can bring some energy to the team on Sunday.
"There's been a bit of a back three nightmare but we are all back around the same time (Prydie should feature this weekend while Amos could be back against Zebre next round). That has given the squad a boost and will push us all on to perform better."
Evans will be hoping that he doesn't get the runaround courtesy of one of the RaboDirect Pro12's most accurate boots.
Connacht will be marshalled by former Scotland and Cardiff Blues fly-half Dan Parks, who secured the spoils for in stormy Galway back in December with a last-gasp drop goal.
"He is a key player for them and we have to put the pressure on him," said Evans. "We can't give him the opportunity to put in the good kicks that he is capable of.
"They will be firing the ball up there. We are prepared for that and will take the challenge on; hopefully it will be our kicking game that is more dominant."
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