Preview: Dragons v Edinburgh

Date published: March 25 2016

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The Dragons welcome back Tyler Morgan and Taulupe Faletau to their starting XV for Sunday's clash with Edinburgh at Rodney Parade.

Dragons Director of Rugby, Lyn Jones makes a total of five changes and one positional change to the Dragons team that faced Munster a few weeks ago.

The back three remain unchanged as full-back Carl Meyer gets the nod alongside wings Ashton Hewitt and Hallam Amos. The centre partnership has one change made to it as Morgan returns from injury to play his second PRO12 match of the season. 

The 20-year-old is partnered with Adam Warren as Adam Hughes moves to the bench. Fly-half Dorian Jones also makes his return from injury after recovering fully from pectoral surgery. Jones is joined in the half-backs by South African scrum-half Sarel Pretorius.

The front row remains unchanged as props Phil Price and Brok Harris are named alongside hooker and Dragons skipper Thomas Rhys Thomas. The second row sees the inclusion of Rynard Landman and young lock Cory Hill. The back row sees versatile forward Lewis Evans move from number eight to flanker along with Nic Cudd, as Faletau returns to pull on the number eight jersey.

On making his return to the field, centre Morgan commented: "It's such a good feeling being back in the environment and getting ready for a game again. I don't mind how long I play, I just want to get on the field and get the ball back in my hands.”

"It's been massively frustrating, I was just coming back from the shoulder injury and was a week into the Six Nations thinking I would be playing the next weekend.

"But then I had a bulging disc in my back that irritated a nerve in my leg and set me back another six weeks. It was massively frustrating but luckily the coaches kept me in the (Wales) environment with the physios looking after me. 

"Eventually I got to train with the boys again and they wanted me to be fit and fresh for the Dragons. I am all clear and ready to play.

"The lungs will be burning but it will be good to get out there against Edinburgh. I've only had 20 minutes against Connacht (this season) so I have a point to prove."

There are four changes made to the replacements bench as Hugh Gustafson, Boris Stankovich, Matthew Screech, Charlie Davies and Adam Hughes join Lloyd Fairbrother, Ed Jackson and Angus O'Brien. 

Meanwhile, Edinburgh boss Alan Solomons has made five changes to the starting XV from his side's last league encounter, at home against table-toppers Connacht on 4 March.
 
Teenage talent Blair Kinghorn retains his place at full-back while Damien Hoyland and Tom Brown continue to occupy the wing berths. Michael Allen returns from injury at outside centre and Sam Beard takes the 12 jersey, with Matt Scott sidelined following injury.
 
The half-back pairing of Phil Burleigh at fly-half and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne at scrum-half is retained, with the latter running out for his 50th cap at Rodney Parade.
 
An all-new front row sees the return of Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford and WP Nel from Six Nations duty, hooker Ford captaining the side in place of Mike Coman who is recovering from a calf injury. 
 
Locks Anton Bresler and Ben Toolis remain in the second row with Jamie Ritchie again on the blindside, Hamish Watson at openside and Cornell Du Preez in the number eight shirt.
 
Stuart McInally and new international cap Rory Sutherland return on the bench, which also includes the club's latest re-signing Sean Kennedy.
 
Speaking about his 50th appearance for the club, Hidalgo-Clyne said: "It's a great milestone for me but the biggest thing this weekend is not about me, it's about the team and the position we're in.
 
"We're obviously look at a top six finish and will be going all out to get the result in Newport.”
 
Looking back over his preceding 49 caps, Hidalgo-Clyne highlighted the visit of Dragons to Murrayfield a year ago, in Edinburgh's European Cup semi-final win, as an outstanding moment.
 
"It'll be good play against Dragons again this week and hopefully repeat that performance.”
 
The scrum-half, who recently committed his future to the club for another two years, added: "We're growing as a club, we've got a good base, increasing depth and will be looking to attract even more supporters.
 
"We'll be back at Murrayfield next Friday, looking to really put in a performance against Zebre and it would be great to get as much support as possible behind us.”

Form: The Dragons have lost their last five PRO12 fixtures since beating Leinster 23-13 at Rodney Parade in Round 13. The Dragons only victory in their last nine encounters with Scottish opponents in all competitions was 19-5 against Edinburgh in Newport in the PRO12 in May 2015. Edinburgh’s only victory in their last six matches in all tournaments was 24-23 at home to Scarlets on 28 February, whilst the Scotsman’s only away victory in the PRO12 since Round 2 came when they beat Glasgow 14-11 on 2 January in a fixture which Glasgow were forced to move to Murrayfield. Edinburgh’s only defeat in their last seven fixtures with Dragons in all tournaments came in Round 21 at Rodney Parade last season.

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Ashton Hewitt, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Dorian Jones, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Rynard Landman, 4 Cory Hill, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Thomas Rhys Thomas (c), 1 Phil Price 
Replacements: Hugh Gustafson, Boris Stankovich, Lloyd Fairbrother, Matthew Screech, Ed Jackson, Charlie Davies, Angus O'Brien, Adam Hughes

Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Damien Hoyland, 13 Michael Allen, 12 Sam Beard, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Phil Burleigh, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Cornell Du Preez, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford (c), 1 Alasdair Dickinson 
Replacements: 16 Stuart Mcinally, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 John Andress, 19 Alex Toolis, 20 Magnus Bradbury, 21 Sean Kenned, 22 Chris Dean, 23 Dougie Fife

Date: Sunday, March 26
Venue: Rodney Parade
Kick-off: 14:30 local (13:30 GMT)
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Simon Rees (Wales)
TMO: Geoffrey Warren (Wales)

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