Dragons coach Bernard Jackman is under no illusions about the size of the task his side face when they welcome Guinness PRO14 champions Leinster to Rodney Parade this evening.
The former Ireland hooker saw his side strengthen their home record last time out with a victory over Edinburgh but even a second-string Leinster side can pose teams problems as Ospreys found out in a 52-7 drubbing at the RDS last Friday, when head coach Leo Cullen fielded three debutants, Scott Penny, Jimmy O’Brien and Jack Kelly.
There could another tonight with first-year academy scrum-half Paddy Patterson named him on the bench yesterday, his 20th birthday, but Dragons boss Jackman knows Leinster will arrive in Wales well able to pose problems and land a repeat dose of their 52-10 win in Dublin in round three.
“When Leinster hit top form they can be devastating, as we saw when they beat Wasps in Europe and last week against Ospreys,” head coach Jackman said. “When we played them in Round 3 we played 25 minutes with 14 men and it was difficult. Our discipline has to be spot on and the improvement with our defence needs to continue. It will be tested under the most extreme circumstances and we have to be ready.”
Leinster welcome fly-half Ross Byrne back from international duty following the Guinness Series to start at number 10 alongside scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park, while Ireland tighthead prop Andrew Porter is named on the bench.
DRAGONS: J Williams; J Rosser, T Morgan, J Sage, H Amos; J Tovey, R Williams; R Bevington, R Hibbard - captain, L Fairbrother; R Landman, L Evans; H Keddie, A Wainwright, O Griffiths.
Replacements: E Dee, A Jarvis, L Brown, C Hill, R Moriarty, T Knoyle, A Robson, A Warren.
LEINSTER: H Keenan; A Byrne, J O’Brien, C O’Brien, D Kearney; R Byrne, J Gibson-Park; E Byrne, J Tracy, M Bent; R Molony, S Fardy - captain; J Murphy, S Penny, C Doris.
Replacements: B Byrne, P Dooley, A Porter, M Kearney, M Deegan, P Patterson, C Frawley, T Daly Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland)