Dragons may take part in Heineken Cup as Newport

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The Independent Online

The Gwent Dragons may have gone into administration, but their name is still registered with the Heineken Cup and it still appears in the detailed fixtures which were published yesterday.

If they do go into liquidation, a source in Wales confided last night that there is every chance the Welsh Rugby Union's Eastern representatives will revert to the name of Newport and come under the aegis once more of the millionaire businessman Tony Brown.

And with European rugby starting to prove a big money-spinner it would be in everyone's interests if the Dragons were allowed to emerge from the ashes of their administration as Newport or whoever it may be.

There is sizeable revenue from Sky, rumoured to be in excess of £6m per season, who will be broadcasting 21 of the 48 matches in the opening four rounds, with further matches being earmarked for live coverage once the six pools have begun to reveal the destiny of the various sides.

On Friday 5 December the Sky outside broadcast unit will be at Stradey Park, where the Llanelli Scarlets take on Northampton in a game which provides the Welsh side with the an opportunity to avenge their heartbreaking last-minute defeat in the 2000 semi-final at the Madejski Stadium, when Paul Grayson landed a penalty to give his side a 31-28 victory.

The following day, the cameras will be at Lansdowne Road in Dublin for Leinster's big clash with the French side Biarritz, and that will be followed by Stade Français' tasty fixture against Leicester Tigers from the Jean Bouin Stadium in the shadow of the Parc des Princes - a repeat of the 2001 Heineken Cup final.

And finally, on Sunday 7 December, Sky cover the matches between Edinburgh and the reigning European champions, Toulouse, (1pm) and Wasps against Perpignan (3pm).

* Harlequins, who put five tries past the much-fancied Northampton at the Stoop last weekend, are unlikely to make many changes for tonight's Powergen Cup tie at Leeds, but their hosts have been strengthened by the return of the World Cup players Diego Albanese, Aaron Persico and Gordon Ross to their squad.