Dragons suffer two more injury blows for bid to avoid winless season at Parade

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OUT: Harri Keddie and Jack Dixon miss the Dragons' final game of the season
OUT: Harri Keddie and Jack Dixon miss the Dragons' final game of the season

THE Dragons are without influential duo Harri Keddie and Jack Dixon for their bid to avoid a winless season at Rodney Parade.

The region finish a nightmare campaign with a home United Rugby Championship encounter against the Lions tomorrow (kick-off 3pm) but have been dealt two more injury blows.

Back row forward Keddie and centre Dixon, who have both shone despite the Dragons’ struggles, have been ruled out of the finale with niggles.

They join Wales international forwards Leon Brown, Will Rowlands, Ben Carter, Aaron Wainwright and Ross Moriarty on the sidelines.

Keddie’s blow forces a back row rejig with Ben Fry shifting to blindside and Taine Basham, fresh from being named in the Test squad for the summer tour to South Africa, returning at openside flanker.

Talisman Ollie Griffiths captains the side from number eight.

South Wales Argus: INFLUENTIAL: Dragons centre Jack Dixon
South Wales Argus: INFLUENTIAL: Dragons centre Jack Dixon

INFLUENTIAL: Dragons centre Jack Dixon

Dixon has been managing a foot issue for several weeks and is replaced by Josh Lewis. The fly-half/full-back joins the only fit specialist centre Adam Warren in midfield, a partnership that did well in the defeat to the Ospreys in Swansea.

Director of rugby Dean Ryan is forced into two more changes up front in the absence of suspended lock Joe Davies and Carter, who came off with a shoulder injury in the loss to Cardiff.

Huw Taylor, a flanker by trade, starts alongside Joe Makysmiw, who is set to leave this summer. They are backed up by Max Williams, another player set for the exit.

Aki Seiuli is the only fit specialist loosehead but tighthead Lloyd Fairbrother, who has occasionally shifted across the front row, will provide cover.

The Dragons need to win to avoid a winless season on home soil after enduring seven defeats and a draw against Benetton in the URC to go along with losses to Lyon and Gloucester in the European Challenge Cup.

Their last triumph on home soil was against the Scarlets in the Rainbow Cup on April 25, 2021 while the coronavirus pandemic means the supporters have had an even longer wait to watch a success in Newport live.

The last time that a triumph was greeted by cheers from the stands and terraces was against the Cheetahs on Saturday, February 29, 2020.

"There are some people playing on the weekend for the last time at the Dragons," said Ryan. "We can't write happy endings but have to try and make them happen."

Dragons: J Williams; Dyer, Warren, J Lewis, Rosser; Reed, Bertranou; Seiuli, Dee, Doge, Maksymiw, Taylor, Fry, Basham, Griffiths (captain).
Replacements: T Davies, Fairbrother, Coleman, M Williams, Greggains, L Jones, S Davies, I Davies.

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