Newport Gwent Dragons travel to the heart of France on the weekend for what is the most important game in their history when they take on ASM Clermont Auvergne in the semi final of the European Challenge Cup.

The Dragons have been boosted by the news that skipper Kevin Morgan has recovered from his knee injury to take his place in the squad although he will undergo a late fitness check.

The Dragons are also waiting on fitness checks to Martyn Thomas (ankle), Phil Dollman (hand), Lee Harrison (ankle) and Peter Sidoli (wrist.) However, the Men of Gwent have been dealt a blow with flanker Colin Charvis definitely ruled out after he injured his elbow against Leinster.

Charvis’ absence is a huge one for The Dragons as he has been one of the most consistent performers over the season. The Dragons do, however, have plenty of cover in the back row with Joe Bearman fit after recovering from his hip injury and have Welsh internationals Michael Owen and Jamie Ringer available as well as Nic Fitisemanu.

Head Coach Paul Turner said, “We are delighted to have made the latter stages of the European Challenge Cup competition and shows how far we have come this season. I feel personally that if you are going to be in the Heineken Cup competition then you need a Heineken Cup squad, we are trying to build that here but this is what we will come up against in the semi final, a side who have that top squad and their position in the Top 14 shows that. We will be going into the game as underdogs but if we can play as well without the ball as I know we can with the ball then anything is possible. The first twenty minutes will be crucial.”

The Dragons boast a 100% record this season against French opposition having beaten Bayonne both home and away in the pool stages of the competition and Brive in the quarter finals of the competition.

The Dragons have named a 27-man squad for the trip to France with the starting XV being confirmed on Friday.

 Prop Adam Black said, “We have had a great run in the European Challenge Cup competition. Everyone was naturally disappointed that we didn’t qualify for the Heineken Cup but the European Challenge Cup tournament has been very positive for us both as a squad and region. To reach the final would be fantastic but we have to beat Clermont on their home patch which is a massive test for us. They are playing some superb rugby at the moment, are flying high in the Top 14 Championship and they want to win this competition.

“Training this week has gone well for the squad and we go to France in positive mood. We know that if we click then we are more than capable of beating anyone on our day. It will be tough in France and we are expecting a fierce battle. There is a tremendous amount of Dragons supporters making the difficult trip to France and we really appreciate the efforts people are making to support us and if they can recreate a little bit of Rodney Parade magic in Clermont then that will go a long way to helping us secure a result.”

Dragons Squad

Kevin Morgan, Martyn Thomas, Gareth Wyatt, Paul Emerick, Nathan Brew, Phil Dollman, Aled Brew, Richard Fussell, Ceri Sweeney, Aled Thomas, Gareth Cooper, Alex Walker, Adam Black, Dai Maddocks, Steve Jones, Ben Daly, Rhys Thomas, Lee Harrison, Jamie Corsi, Ian Gough, Luke Charteris, Andrew Hall, Peter Sidoli, Joe Bearman, Michael Owen, Nic Fitisemanu, Jamie Ringer.