Preview: Dragons v Ospreys

Date published: March 31 2016

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Taulupe_Faletau_Dragons_PRO12

Taulupe Faletau will captain the Dragons as they host Ospreys in the PRO12 on Friday at Rodney Parade.

The 25-year-old number eight will potentially make his last appearance at Rodney Parade – before moving to Bath – unless the Dragons can take the win against Gloucester in the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup, with Sale Sharks also winning against Montpellier.

With over 150 appearances for the Welsh region, Faletau will run out as captain for the first time in his career.

Director of rugby Lyn Jones has made two change to the team that narrowly lost out to Edinburgh last weekend as Elliot Dee and Matthew Screech are named.

The back three remain unchanged as full-back Carl Meyer gets the nod alongside Ashton Hewitt and last weekend’s try-scorer Hallam Amos. The centre partnership of Tyler Morgan and Adam Warren also remains intact. Fly-half Dorian Jones is also selected alongside scrum-half Sarel Pretorius.

The front-row has one change made to it as hooker Dee is named alongside props Phil Price and Brok Harris. The second-row also has a change made to it as Screech replaces Cory Hill who suffered a hip injury during the match last weekend. Screech packs down alongside experienced lock Rynard Landman. The back-row sees flankers Lewis Evans and Nic Cudd selected alongside skipper Faletau.

Meanwhile, Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy has made nine changes to his side that lost 25-16 to Scarlets. In the backline, Jeff Hassler moves to the bench and is replaced by Hanno Dirksen. Owen Watkin replaces Ben John – who suffered a concussion last week – at outside centre and Wales number ten Dan Biggar replaces Sam Davies with the latter moving to the bench.

Up front there are six changes, Sam Underhill is the only survivor in the back-row with utility forward James King moving to number eight in place of Dan Baker, Baker has been sidelined due to illness. Olly Cracknell replaces Dan Lydiate who has been named amongst the replacements. With King moving to the back of the scrum, Rory Thornton and King are replaced by Rynier Bernardo and Adam Beard. Dmitri Arhip replaces Aaron Jarvis who drops to the bench and Nicky Smith comes in for the injured captain Paul James.

Scum-half Rhys Webb takes over the captain's armband from James.

Form: Dragons have not beaten a fellow Welsh region in the tournament since overcoming Cardiff Blues on Boxing Day 2014. Ospreys have slipped to three straight defeats in the PRO12 and have only once before lost four in a row in the same season, their inaugural campaign in 2003/04. Ospreys have won four times on the road in the PRO12 this season being victorious on both trips to Italy, at Scarlets and at Munster. Ospreys have won their last eight fixtures against Dragons in the PRO12 since the home side's 20-21 win at Rodney Parade in January 2012.

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 (c), 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Rynard Landman, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Phil Price
Replacements: 16 Thomas Rhys Thomas, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Nick Crosswell, 20 Ed Jackson, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Geraint Rhys Jones, 23 Adam Hughes

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb (c), 8 James King, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Olly Cracknell, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Nicky Smith
Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Dan Lydiate, 20 Joe Bearman, 21 Brendon Leonard, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Jeff Hassler

Date: Friday, April 1
Venue: Rodney Parade
Kick-off: 19:05 GMT
Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)
Assistant Referees: Ben Whitehouse, Sean Brickell (both WRU)
TMO: Paul Adams (WRU)

COMMENTS