Bruised Dragons mull freshening up for Sharks but Pumas ace won't be rushed back

BACK: Scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou has trained with his Dragons teammates after Argentina duty
BACK: Scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou has trained with his Dragons teammates after Argentina duty

DRAGONS boss Dai Flanagan is mulling over freshening up his side to face the Sharks after their bruising win against Munster, but Argentina scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou won't make a rapid return.

The Rodney Parade region have a six-day around to their United Rugby Championship encounter with the Sharks, who are fresh from a five-try 42-37 win at Zebre.

Ideally the Dragons would stick with a winning team after they upset the odds 23-17 against Munster but it was a success that was built on physicality and energy.

Flanagan and his fellow coaches will assess whether they will ask their players to go to the well once more on Saturday (kick-off 7.35pm) or if certain individuals need a breather.

The Dragons have a seven-game block to kick off the URC before the autumn internationals and cannot gamble when it comes to injuries due to the decision to operate with a stripped back but concentrated squad.

Flanagan names his side at midday on Friday and those selected need to be physically capable of hitting the same standards that stunned Munster.

The Dragons after their win against Munster

"It's a balancing act and there are a couple of tweaks that we can make in selection to freshen up with people who are outside coming in," said the head coach, who is calling the shots while the exit of director of rugby Dean Ryan is rubber-stamped.

"There are also players who did really well and they need to back it and show they can do it again. There might be the odd change but not many."

Bertranou is back training with the Dragons after Argentina duty but won't be flung in against the Sharks.

The scrum-half missed the URC defeat to Edinburgh and win against Munster while with the Pumas.

Last year he was given a rapid recall by the Rodney Parade club for the trip to Connacht not long after landing back in the UK but there won't be a repeat.

PATIENT: Gonzalo Bertranou won't be rushed back by the Dragons

"He has just done his first session with us and is super keen and competitive," said head coach Dai Flanagan.

"You want people like that around the facility but he has to catch up on all the little subtle changes.

Gonzo's opportunity will come when he is ready."

Rhodri Williams is set to make his third start on the spin with Lewis Jones his back-up.

Bertranou featured against Scotland this summer and then played five times in the Rugby Championship, starting on four occasions.

He helped the Pumas stun the All Blacks in Christchurch and scored a try in defeat to South Africa in Durban last week.

URC fixtures: Friday - Bulls v Connacht, Ulster v Leinster, Cardiff v Lions; Saturday - Stormers v Edinburgh, Ospreys v Glasgow, Munster v Zebre, Benetton v Scarlets, Dragons v Sharks.