No last hurrah for Roberts as Dragons leave out centre ahead of move Down Under

·2-min read
GONE: Jamie Roberts will not have a last appearance for the Dragons
GONE: Jamie Roberts will not have a last appearance for the Dragons

JAMIE Roberts won’t enjoy a last hurrah at Rodney Parade after being left out of the Dragons’ squad to face Benetton at Rodney Parade tomorrow (kick-off 7.35pm).

The former Wales and Lions centre has negotiated an early release from his contract so that he can head to Australia for family reasons.

Roberts, who is joining the Sydney-based Waratahs, flies Down Under next week and is not included for the United Rugby Championship clash with Benetton.

The Dragons make nine changes to the XV that lost to the Italians in the European Rugby Challenge Cup with Wales back rower Ross Moriarty returning from injury to captain the side.

South Wales Argus: BACK: Ross Moriarty will captain the Dragons
South Wales Argus: BACK: Ross Moriarty will captain the Dragons

BACK: Ross Moriarty will captain the Dragons

He lines up at number eight with the aim of proving his fitness for the Six Nations opener against Ireland after being sidelined since suffering a shoulder injury against New Zealand in October.

Openside Ollie Griffiths is back from injury to join him in the back row while Joe Davies and Joe Maksymiw join forces in the absence of Wales locks Will Rowlands and Ben Carter.

Aki Seiuli is preferred to Greg Bateman in the other change up front while Wales hooker Elliot Dee is on the bench after recovering from an ankle injury. He will be keen to show Wayne Pivac that he is ready if needed for the Six Nations.

Adam Warren comes in for Roberts in midfield and it is all-change in the back three with Jonah Holmes and Jordan Olowofela on the wings and Josh Lewis at full-back.

Scrum-half Rhodri Williams is back from injury to back up Gonzalo Bertranou while Jared Rosser, who is primarily a winger, is the midfield cover.

A victory is vital for Dragons after a challenging season that has featured a solitary success at Connacht from 10 fixtures.

They haven't won at Rodney Parade since the Rainbow Cup success against the Scarlets on April 25 last year while their last success in front of fans in Newport was against the Cheetahs in February 2020.

Benetton have 23 players away with Italy and include Argentina tighthead Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, who made 18 appearances for the Dragons in 2013/14, in their XV.

Dragons: J Lewis; J Holmes, A Warren, A Owen, J Olowofela; S Davies, G Bertranou; A Seiuli, T Davies, C Coleman, J Davies, J Maksymiw, H Keddie, O Griffiths, R Moriarty (captain).

Replacements: E Dee, J Reynolds, M Doge, H Taylor, D Baker, R Williams, J Rosser, I Davies.

Benetton: G Da Re; L Pani, F Drago, J Riera, T Benvenuti; T Albornoz, D Duvenage (captain); T Gallo, C Els, T Chaparro, I Herbst, C Wegner, M Meggiato, M Lazzaroni, L Cannone.

Replacements: H Faiva, C Traore, F Alongi, N Piantella, A Steyn, A Garbisi, M Zanon, T Bell.

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