THE Dragons head to Bristol tomorrow evening looking to upset the odds in the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals (kick-off 7.45pm).

The region have a 100 per cent record in the last eight of the tournament having beaten Brive, Cardiff Blues and Gloucester in the past.

They are underdogs against the Bears but director of rugby Dean Ryan has named a formidable side for the trip to the West Country.

Here are the details about the mouth-watering quarter-final clash.


Bristol: C Piutau, L Morahan, S Radradra, P O’Conor, H Purdy, C Sheedy, A Uren, J Woolmore, H Thacker, K Sinckler, D Attwood, C Vui, S Luatua (captain), B Earl, N Hughes. Replacements: W Capon, Y Thomas, J Afoa, J Joyce, D Thomas, H Randall, M Malins, A Leiua.

Dragons: J Williams, J Holmes, N Tompkins, J Roberts, A Hewitt, S Davies, R Williams, B Harris, E Dee, L Brown, J Davies, M Screech, A Wainwright, H Keddie, R Moriarty. Replacements: R Hibbard, J Reynolds, L Fairbrother, J Maksymiw, T Basham, L Baldwin, J Lewis, A Warren.

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)

Free Press Series: DEBUT: Jamie RobertsDEBUT: Jamie Roberts


Both teams go fully-loaded with Dragons boss Dean Ryan springing a surprise by bringing in full-back Jordan Williams, who hasn’t played since suffering knee ligament damage last November.

Wales internationals Jonah Holmes and Jamie Roberts make their debuts and Harrison Keddie is preferred to Taine Basham, who is tasked with adding energy from the bench.

Bristol don’t hold anything back for the Premiership play-offs push – their side features superstars Charles Piutau, Semi Radradra and Kyle Sinckler.

Free Press Series: EXPLOSIVE: Harry ThackerEXPLOSIVE: Harry Thacker


Radradra has been sensational since arriving in Bristol this summer and the qualities of Piutau, Sinckler and Nathan Hughes are well known.

However, Harry Thacker has been superb since heading to the West Country from Leicester with Pat Lam’s style suiting the diminutive hooker to the ground.

Explosive in the loose, the handling skills of a back and no soft touch at the set piece, the front rower will be in the thick of it.


The Dragons returned to action at the end of August to finish the Guinness PRO14 with boss Dean Ryan giving opportunities instead of going fully-loaded.

They drew 20-20 against the 14-man Ospreys thanks to Ashton Hewitt’s late try at the Liberty Stadium and were overpowered by the Scarlets 41-20 at Rodney Parade after the west Walians stretched away in the final quarter.

Bristol will have a fascinating tussle for the Premiership play-offs at the end of this month and start of October. They currently sit fifth, just two points off second-placed Wasps.

The Bears have won four and lost three since the season resumed.

They hammered Northampton 47-10 in their last home game before Lam rotated against Wasps last Sunday, with his 'second string' scoring a four-try bonus in a 59-35 loss.


The winners will take on either Edinburgh or Bordeaux-Begles, who meet in France on Saturday (kick-off 12.30pm).

The semi-final clash will be next Friday (kick-off 7.45pm) with the Dragons facing another away tie, while Bristol would have home advantage.

Free Press Series:


The fixture will be settled on the night with extra time of 10 minutes each way played if the scores are level at full-time.

If still tied then the winner is decided by who has scored most tries (including extra time) and if it’s still equal then there will be a place-kick competition.

The rules have been changed since Leicester’s dramatic Heineken Cup semi-final win against Cardiff Blues at Principality Stadium, when Martyn Williams’ miss proved crucial.

Now five players are nominated by each team with kicks from three different areas on the 22-metre line.


The clash is live on BT Sport with coverage starting at 7pm.

Highlights are on S4C at 11pm on Saturday night, coming after the channel’s live coverage of the Scarlets’ clash in Toulon at 8pm.

The Argus will be at Ashton Gate with a live blog providing updates and insight before a full report and reaction.