Preview: Dragons v Edinburgh

Date published: November 25 2016

Dragons head coach Kingsley Jones has made five changes to his starting line-up for Sunday’s clash with Edinburgh at Rodney Parade. 

The back three has no changes made to it as full-back Carl Meyer retains his position alongside wings Pat Howard and Ashton Hewitt.

The centre partnership sees one change as Jack Dixon replaces Adam Warren alongside last weekend’s double try scorer Sam Beard. Young fly-half Angus O’Brien keeps his spot and he is joined in the half-backs alongside scrum-half Tavis Knoyle.

The front row has two changes made to it as loosehead prop Sam Hobbs is joined by hooker Thomas Rhys Thomas and tighthead prop Brok Harris.

Jones makes no changes to the second row as Nick Crosswell and Rynard Landman are named, with the back row seeing the return of skipper Lewis Evans alongside flanker Ollie Griffiths and number eight Ed Jackson.

The replacements bench also has five changes made to it as Rhys Buckley, Phil Price, Lloyd Fairbrother, Sarel Pretorius and Geraint Rhys Jones join Matthew Screech, Nic Cudd and Tyler Morgan.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh acting head coach Duncan Hodge has made two personnel changes to his starting side.

Michael Allen is named on the left wing in place of the injured Tom Brown, while Nasi Manu returns to the back-row after recovering from a shoulder injury.

With Manu’s inclusion at number eight, Magnus Bradbury – who is released from the national squad after making his Scotland debut in last weekend’s win over Argentina – moves to blindside flanker.

Hodge said: “We’ve had a decent break over the international period but we haven’t diverted our focus from this game as we look to carry on from where we left off in victory over Ulster.

“We’ve named a fairly settled side, with a lot of players meriting reselection after their previous performance.

“It’s also good to welcome back a number of players from the national squad, who will have picked up invaluable experience from their time in that environment.

“Dragons are a good team and Rodney Parade is a difficult place to go but we’re excited ahead of the weekend and ready to embrace the challenge.”

Joining the incoming Allen in the back-three is Damien Hoyland – who starts on the right wing after training as part of the Scotland squad – and full-back Blair Kinghorn.

Phil Burleigh and Chris Dean start at inside and outside-centre respectively, with Sean Kennedy and Jason Tovey continuing as the half-back duo.

Neil Cochrane retains the captaincy and the starting hooker spot, with Jack Cosgrove and Murray McCallum picked to join him in the front-row.

Man of the match against Ulster, Fraser McKenzie, and Ben Toolis, pack-down in the boiler room, while Jamie Ritchie is named alongside Bradbury and Manu in the back-row.

Form: The Dragons’ 21-16 victory at home to Connacht in Round 8 ended a five game losing run in the PRO12. The Welshmen have not won back-to-back contests in the tournament since April 2015. Dragons have won just one of their past eleven encounters with Scottish sides – 19-5 at home to Edinburgh in May 2015. Edinburgh’s only defeat in their last five fixtures in all tournaments was 14-19 at home to Zebre in Round 7 of the PRO12.Edinburgh are one of just four sides who have yet to record an away victory in the Championship this season, with their most recent success on the road coming in this equivalent fixture last season. Edinburgh have lost only one of their last eight encounters with Dragons, whilst their record at Rodney Parade in the PRO12 is won 4, drawn 1, lost 9.

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Pat Howard, 13 Sam Beard, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Ashton Hewitt, 10 Angus O’Brien, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Ollie Griffiths, 6 Lewis Evans (c), 5 Rynard Landman, 4 Nick Crosswell, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Thomas Rhys Thomas, 1 Sam Hobbs
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Phil Price, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Nic Cudd, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Geraint Rhys Jones, 23 Tyler Morgan

Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Damien Hoyland, 13 Chris Dean, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Michael Allen, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Jamie Ritchie, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 Murray McCallum, 2 Neil Cochrane (c), 1 Jack Cosgrove
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Kyle Whyte, 18 Felipe Arregui, 19 Lewis Carmichael, 20 Viliame Mata, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Glenn Bryce

Date: Sunday, November 27
Venue: Rodney Parade
Kick-off: 15:30 GMT
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Leo Colgan (Ireland), Rhys Thomas (Wales)
TMO: Btian MacNeice (Ireland)