The Dragons opened their Heineken Cup account with an encouraging bonus-point defeat away to Perpignan.

But if Paul Turner’s men are to progress any further in the competition, this is a match they must win. London Irish started with a comfortable seven-try win over Italians Benetton Treviso and expect this one to be close.

Kevin Morgan has handed Newport Gwent Dragons a major Heineken Cup boost with his return from knee surgery. The Wales full-back went under the knife last month after damaging knee cartilage but has recovered to face London Irish at Rodney Parade.

Morgan is one of three changes to the Dragons team that picked up a valuable bonus point in their 23-19 defeat at Perpignan in the opening week of the tournament.

Wayne Smith has got the nod ahead of Wales scrum-half Andy Williams and Jamie Ringer replaces flanker Dan Lydiate, who was forced to stay in hospital in France until earlier this week after suffering a neck injury. The 19-year-old is expected to be out of rugby until the new year.

British Lions pair Michael Owen and Colin Charvis both start as do Rhys Thomas, Luke Charteris and Ceri Sweeney, all named this week in the provisional Wales squad to face South Africa next week.