Preview: Dragons v Edinburgh

Date published: May 7 2015

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Tom_Prydie_Dragons_Pro12_2015

Dragons boss Lyn Jones has made seven changes and one positional switch to his starting XV for Friday's clash with Edinburgh at Rodney Parade.

The Men of Gwent will look to turn the tables on their visitors after the Scottish side won at Murrayfield during the semi-finals of the European Challenge Cup.

In team news, versatile back Tom Prydie moves across to full-back as young guns Ashton Hewitt and Hallam Amos take on the roles of wingers.

The centre pairing remains unchanged as Tyler Morgan and Jack Dixon retain their places in the starting XV. The half-backs are all change though as Jason Tovey replaces Dorian Jones who moves to the bench, and Luc Jones will make his first PRO12 start as scrum-half.

The front-row has one change made to it as hooker T. Rhys Thomas returns to the fold alongside props Phil Price and Brok Harris. There is one alteration to the second-row as 23-year-old Cory Hill joins up with the experienced Rynard Landman.

The back-row has two tweaks as flankers Nick Crosswell and Nic Cudd return to play alongside number eight Taulupe Faletau.

Looking back on last weekend's clash against Scarlets, youngster Ashton Hewitt commented: “We created chances but didn't execute with fumbles, inaccurate passes and kicks.

"We do cause damage and split teams but when it comes down to it we need to score the points."

Meanwhile, Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons has made four changes to the starting XV – two injury enforced and two rotational – who competed in last Friday's European Rugby Challenge Cup Final.

Returning from injury at full-back, in place of Greig Tonks who had a recurrence of a hamstring problem last Friday, is Jack Cuthbert. Due to back-row injuries, Stuart McInally moves up from the bench to start on the blindside.

Having taken over the captaincy once before, due to injury to Mike Coman against Scarlets earlier in the season, Stuart McInally will also lead the team for this match in the absence of Coman, due to a similar injury sustained in the final.

The other two changes come in the pack with Hamish Watson moving up from the bench to start at openside, while making his first start since the away match against Ospreys earlier in the season, is lock Fraser McKenzie.

Dougie Fife and Tim Visser retain their berths on the right and left wings respectively while Sam Beard and Andries Strauss remain at outside and inside centre.

Maintaining their half-back pairing, meanwhile, are Phil Burleigh at fly-half and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne at scrum-half. In the pack, the front-row remains the same while Ben Toolis partners McKenzie at lock and Cornell Du Preez keeps the number eight jersey.

"Coming off the back of the European Challenge Cup Final, especially with the Dragons having had a fixture-free week and playing at home at Rodney Parade – a notoriously difficult venue – this will be a tough encounter," said Solomons.

Form: The Dragons' 10-29 defeat to the Scarlets on "Judgement Day" ended a three game winning run in the Guinness PRO12. Dragons have won their last three matches at Rodney Parade in all competitions since losing there to Connacht in the PRO12 on 22nd February. The Men from Gwent have lost their last five encounters with Scottish sides in all tournaments. Edinburgh narrowly missed out on winning a first piece of European silverware with their 13-19 defeat by Gloucester at Twickenham Stoop on Friday. The Scotsmen's only loss in their last four Guinness PRO12 matches came at home to Munster in round 19. Edinburgh have won their last three away games in all tournaments, and have lost just once in their last seven encounters with Welsh opposition. The two sides have already met twice this season, with Edinburgh taking both victories, in round 6 of the PRO12 in October, and the semi-final of the European Challenge Cup in April, both at Murrayfield. Dragons have not beaten Edinburgh in any tournament since the Scotsmen's' visited to Rodney Parade in the PRO12 in September 2012.

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Tom Prydie, 14 Ashton Hewitt, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Luc Jones, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Rynard Landman, 4 Cory Hill, 3 Brok Harris, 2 T. Rhys Thomas (c), 1 Phil Price.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Gustafson, 17 Lloyd Fairbrother, 18 Dan Way, 19 James Thomas, 20 Ollie Griffiths, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Dorian Jones, 23 Geraint Rhys Jones.

Edinburgh: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Sam Beard, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Phil Burleigh, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Cornell Du Preez, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Stuart McInally (c), 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Neil Cochrane, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 John Andress, 19 Anton Bresler, 20 Roddy Grant, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Tom Brown.

Date: Friday, May 8
Venue: Rodney Parade
Kick-off: 19:30 BST
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Neil Hennessy (Wales), Martyn Lewis (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)

COMMENTS