Dragons fly to South Africa without Wales forwards

Dragons fly to South Africa without Wales forwards

Dan Lydiate arrived at Rodney Parade in 2023 for a second spell with the Gwent region
Venue: Kings Park Stadium, Durban Date: Saturday, 25 November Kick off: 17:15 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C and via iPlayer. Match report and highlights on the BBC Sport website and app. Highlights on Scrum V, Sunday, BBC Two Wales and online, Sunday, 26 November from 18:00 GMT and later on demand.

Dragons will be without four injured Wales international forwards and Argentina scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou for their two-match trip to face South African sides.

Dan Lydiate, Ben Carter, Leon Brown and Elliot Dee will miss the United Rugby Championship (URC) games against Sharks and Lions.

The quartet are among 14 missing players from the 30-man squad.

Wales flanker Taine Basham is also absent through suspension.

Flanker Lydiate and hooker Dee are both suffering with rib problems, lock Carter picked up a hamstring injury in the 20-5 victory over Ospreys and prop Brown has a calf issue.

Lydiate, who joined the Dragons from Ospreys this season, suffered a fractured rib in the 33-10 defeat by Leinster earlier this month and is predicted to be out until the end of 2023.

“Dan has fractured a rib and that is a six-week injury for a normal human being, I am sure he will be back quicker,” said head coach Dai Flanagan.

“He said that he did it early in the Leinster game and that he was pushing it in and it was popping out, while he also dislocated a finger and put it back in when he was running. I have never seen anything like it

“He was superb at the end of last season for the Ospreys against us. He looked like he has for Wales, like a player with a spring in their step and a new lease of life.”

Bertranou has returned from the World Cup in France but is yet to make his first Dragons appearance of the season.

Harri Ackerman, Jack Dixon, Rodrigo Martinez, Angus O’Brien, Josh Reynolds, Jared Rosser, David Richards and Joe Westwood will also be missing in South Africa.

Flanagan’s side lost their first four league games but celebrated an opening win of the 2023-24 campaign against Ospreys at Rodney Parade last weekend.

Dragons face Sharks in Durban on Saturday, 25 November before travelling to face the Lions in Johannesburg seven days later.

“We’re looking forward to the trip and the two games, on the back of a positive performance and result against Ospreys,” said Flanagan.

“It’s a big challenge first up against the Sharks, a big stadium and they have a team of superstars, whoever plays for them.

“It’s a test we are excited by, and the result will look after itself. What is important is that we perform well and continue the momentum we built against Ospreys.

“We’ll then travel to Cape Town for a training week before the game in Johannesburg against Lions, which will be another huge test for us before our attention turns to European competition.”

Dragons kick off their European Challenge Cup campaign against French side Oyonnax at Rodney Parade on Saturday, 9 December (20:00 GMT).

Dragons squad

Forwards: Rhodri Jones, Aki Seiuli, Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths, Bradley Roberts, James Benjamin, Brodie Coghlan, Lloyd Fairbrother, Chris Coleman, Luke Yendle, Matthew Screech, Joe Davies, George Nott, Sean Lonsdale, Harri Keddie, Ryan Woodman, Ollie Griffiths, Aaron Wainwright.

Backs: Dane Blacker, Rhodri Williams, Lewis Jones, Will Reed, Cai Evans, Aneurin Owen, Corey Baldwin, Steff Hughes (capt), Sio Tomkinson, Rio Dyer, Ashton Hewitt, Ewan Rosser, Jordan Williams.

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