Preview: Dragons v Leinster

Date published: April 10 2015

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Leinster will be after revenge against the Dragons as they look to keep their PRO12 play-off hopes alive at Rodney Parade on Sunday.

The Irish province were stunned 16-14 at home by the Dragons back in February and are now on the outside looking in for a top four spot.

While they have a Champions Cup semi-final to prepare for in Marseille next weekend, this is a must-win match in the closing stages of the league season.

However they face a Dragons side that is on a high after securing a European semi-final of their own, against Edinburgh in the Challenge Cup.

For this week's game Taulupe Faletau returns for the Dragons at number eight while Tyler Morgan starts in the centres ahead of Pat Leach.

In the pack James Thomas switches into the second row, with Nick Crosswell moving to blindside as Faletau and Nic Cudd gets starts in the back-row.

"We've got to use Leinster in a five-day turnaround as a really good training session, incorporating it in our preparation for Edinburgh," said director of rugby Lyn Jones.

"European rugby is nice and we will think about that next week but now it's about Leinster and we are not in the position where we can rest players.”

Leinster have made a raft of changes to the team that beat Bath, with Zane Kirchner starting at full-back and Dave Kearney and Darragh Fanning forming a new-look back-three.

Gordon D'Arcy returns in the centres alongside Ben Te'o, while Eoin Reddan gets the nod at scrum-half.

It's a similar story in the pack with Jack McGrath, Richardt Strauss and Marty Moore all promoted to the starting line-up, while Ben Marshall comes into the second-row.

In the back-row, Shane Jennings will captain the side from openside flanker, with Dominic Ryan selected at blindside and Jack Conan at number eight.

Form: Newport Gwent Dragons have won their last three encounters in all tournaments since losing out to Zebre in Parma in the Guinness PRO12 on 1st March. Dragons have won two of their last three contests with Irish provinces with their 26-22 victory over Ulster in round 17 ending a run of five home losses to Irish opponents at Rodney Parade. Leinster's only win in their last five Guinness PRO12 fixtures was 29-8 at home to Zebre on 20th February. The Leinstermen have been victorious only once away from home in any tournament since October: 22-13 at Cardiff Blues in the PRO12 on the 10th January – a run which includes three draws. Dragons beat Leinster at the RDS in round 14 and have never before achieved a PRO12 season's double over the Irishmen, however Leinster have won on their last four visits to Newport.

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Jason Tovey, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Dorian Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Cory Hill, 4 James Thomas, 3 Brok Harris, 2 T.Rhys Thomas (c), 1 Phil Price. 
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Luke Garrett, 18 Dan Way, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 James Benjamin, 21 Luc Jones, 22 Pat Leach, 23 Geraint Rhys Jones. 

Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Dave Kearney, 13 Ben Te'o, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Darragh Fanning, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Shane Jennings (c), 6 Dominic Ryan, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Ben Marshall, 3 Martin Moore, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Michael Bent, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Noel Reid, 23 Luke Fitzgerald.

Date: Sunday, April 12
Venue: Rodney Parade, Newport
Kick-off: 16:15 BST
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Ben Whitehouse (Wales), Sean Brickell (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)

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