Dragons go for Burton against Ospreys
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have brought Kris Burton in from the cold to start their Judgement Day clash against the Ospreys at the Millennium Stadium.
The 33-year-old former Italy fly-half will make his first start in the RaboDirect Pro12 since the two regions clashed at the Liberty Stadium last October.
Burton has played second fiddle to Jason Tovey since arriving at Rodney Parade on a two-year deal from Treviso last summer.
Tovey, who rejoined the Dragons following an ill-fated season with Cardiff Blues, made a superb start to the campaign but his form has flagged of late.
That has led to Burton, a replacement in last weekend's 45-27 loss to Trevison, getting a chance to pull the strings at the Millennium Stadium on Easter Sunday.
"Kris hasn't had the number of starts that he would have liked but has rolled his sleeves up and trained very hard," said director of rugby Lyn Jones.
"He did well when he came on against Treviso last weekend so deserves the chance to try and do it from the off. We are looking for him to perform well and provide Jason with some competition."
The Dragons make five other changes to the starting line-up for the Ospreys encounter, bringing in a quintet of internationals.
Hallam Amos moves to full-back to replace Ospreys-bound Dan Evans, who was at fault for a pair of tries against Treviso last weekend, with Will Harries taking his place on the wing while Richie Rees is recalled at scrum-half.
The pack is bolstered by the return of three seasoned campaigners – captain and lock Andrew Coombs, hooker Rhys Thomas and Fijian back row forward Netani Talei.
Exciting Wales Under-20s prospect Tyler Morgan is set for his Pro12 debut off the bench. The classy 18-year-old centre/wing has had a superb season with Newport in the Premiership and featured in the region's LV= Cup encounters with the Scarlets and London Wasps last autumn.
"Tyler has been playing excellently for Newport and looks to have a bright future in the game," said Jones. "He is an exciting talent and the quicker we get him involved the quicker he can fulfil his potential."
The Dragons are without a win in five games and are attempting to deny the Ospreys a clean sweep of the Welsh regions. Steve Tandy's men need a bonus point win to keep the heat on Glasgow.
Dragons: H Amos, T Prydie, P Leach, J Dixon, W Harries, K Burton, R Rees, P Price, R Thomas, D Bell, M Screech, A Coombs (captain), N Talei, L Evans, T Faletau. Replacements: S Parry, O Evans, B Douglas, C Hill, N Cudd, J Evans, J Tovey, T Morgan.
Ospreys: R Fussell, J Hassler, J Spratt, A Beck, H Dirksen, D Biggar, T Habberfield, D Jones, S Baldwin, A Jarvis, R Jones, A W Jones (captain), J King, J Tipuric, D Baker. Replacements: S Otten, N Smith, A Jones, T Ardon, S Lewis, T Tebaldi, S Davies, A Natoga.
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)