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Dragons team news as Will Rowlands returns and looks to put down Six Nations marker

Wales lock Will Rowlands gets a chance to prove his Six Nations fitness when he returns to the Dragons side for Saturday’s European Challenge Cup clash away to Benetton.

The second-row was injured in the game with Perpignan in mid-December but can put down a marker to Wayne Pivac as part of a Dragons team with seven changes.

Like Rowlands, Jamie Roberts returns for his own first start in 2022.

With Alun Wyn Jones missing the Six Nations due to shoulder damage sustained against New Zealand during the autumn, second-row places are up for grabs for the Championship opener in Ireland on February 5.

Adam Beard is expected to fill one void, with Rowlands and Seb Davies battling it out for the other position.

Davies is the man in possession, having started the victory over Australia last time out and he had a decent autumn.

However, Rowlands, who missed the Wallabies game through concussion, is likely to come back in with his combination of physicality and athleticism if he can shine for the Dragons.

The Gwent team’s boss Ryan makes seven changes in total, with Roberts and fellow international Gonzalo Bertranou returning to the backline.

Director of Rugby Ryan said: “It’s an important game and we’ve still got a chance in this competition, but we also need to get back playing. That is the most important factor.

“We play Benetton twice over the next few weeks and it will be two very different sides for the fixtures because of the Six Nations.”

Want the latest Welsh rugby news sent straight to you? Look no further.

Dragons: Ioan Davies; Jared Rosser, Aneurin Owen, Jamie Roberts, Rio Dyer; Sam Davies, Gonzalo Bertranou; Greg Bateman, Taylor Davies, Chris Coleman, Will Rowlands, Ben Carter, Harri Keddie (c), Taine Basham, Aaron Wainwright

Replacements: Ellis Shipp, Aki Seiuli, Leon Brown, Joe Maksymiw, Huw Taylor, Tavis Knoyle, Will Reed, Jordan Olowofela

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