"The regions' circumstances have always made it necessary to look to the Academy and Premiership to support our squad and with some real success stories over the past few years. Players such as Lloyd Burns, Andrew Coombs and Adam Hughes all kicked off their regional careers coming from the Premiership and have proven to be strong members of our squad.
"Geraint has a proven track record for Pontypool and his level of experience and game time should enable him to step up to regional level.
The return of centre Ashley Smith will boost the Dragons backs as the Men of Gwent look to secure their first victory in Galway since 2004.
"Having Ashley Smith back is obviously great for us and I trust that our players are good enough to pull off a strong performance despite the fact that there will be a couple of newer faces and a few players out of position."
Dragons Squad for Connacht
Backs Wayne Evans, Joe Bedford, Jon Evans, Jason Tovey, Matthew Jones, Ashley Smith, Geraint O'Driscoll*, Pat Leach, Tom Riley, Mathew Pewtner, Martyn Thomas.
Forwards Phill Price, Nathan Williams, Dan Way, Nathan Buck, Tom Willis, Rhys Buckley, Adam Jones, Rob Sidoli, Andrew Coombs, Gavin Thomas, Jevon Groves, Lewis Evans, Darren Waters, Sam Parry, Hugo Ellis