20/12/2019 – Guinness PRO14 Communications – Moriarty set for derby day return

Wales international back row Ross Moriarty is set for his first appearance of the season in the Guinness PRO14 Welsh derby with Scarlets at Rodney Parade on Saturday (kick-off 5.15pm).

Moriarty is named among the replacements for the huge home clash and could appear for Dragons for the first time since May – when he also faced Scarlets at Judgement Day.

Dean Ryan, Director of Dragons Rugby, makes one change to the starting line-up that defeated Worcester Warriors in the European Challenge Cup last Friday evening.

Taine Basham – after a one-game suspension - comes into the back row to wear the seven jersey, with Ollie Griffiths ruled out through injury.

Several changes on the bench include the return of Samoa international lock Brandon Nansen.

Prop Lloyd Fairbrother and scrum half Tavis Knoyle are also named as replacements.

Dragons kick-off the Welsh festive derby season on home soil looking to move up the Conference A table.

But Ryan is aware of the size of the challenge against a Scarlets side pushing for top spot in Conference B, after five wins in seven league outings.

“It will be a test to play against a side that has so much quality in it, but it is one we are looking forward to as we start the derby season,” he said.

“Scarlets have got great willingness to play and put width on the ball. They have real clarity over the system that gets them into that quickly.

“They have also got a lot of international boys who have been away and are coming back in and integrating into the team. They have real quality and experience.

“We’ve always had a focus on trying to get the team in the right space to go into a run of derby games,” he added.

“We’re probably in as good a position as we could expect, given some of the injuries we have got.

“We have got the team in a good space, a good understanding of what we are trying to do, to give it our best shot over the next two or three weeks.”

Dragons (v Scarlets): Will Talbot-Davies, Owen Jenkins, Adam Warren, Jack Dixon, Ashton Hewitt, Sam Davies, Rhodri Williams (c); Brok Harris, Elliot Dee, Leon Brown, Joe Davies, Matthew Screech, Cory Hill, Taine Basham, Aaron Wainwright

Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Aaron Jarvis, Lloyd Fairbrother, Brandon Nansen, Ross Moriarty, Tavis Knoyle, Jacob Botica, Tyler Morgan