Preview: Dragons v Treviso

Date published: September 26 2014

Newport Gwent Dragons welcome back a number of experienced players for Saturday’s visit of Treviso, including captain Lee Byrne.

Ashley Smith is also back after passing a late fitness test, and he will line up at inside centre.

Director of Rugby, Lyn Jones, has made a total of eight changes to the team that faced Glasgow Warriors last weekend.

Dragons skipper Bryne returns to full-back and is joined in the back three by Welsh Internationals Tom Prydie and Hallam Amos.

The centre pairing sees one change as Ben John, who is on loan from the Ospreys, is joined by Smith.

Jason Tovey comes in at fly-half after he returns from injury and Jonathan Davies takes the scrum-half position.

The front row has two changes as Boris Stankovich is joined by hooker Elliot Dee and prop Dan Way.

Locks Cory Hill and Rynard Landman retain their places in the second row, as one change is made to the back row with Lewis Evans moving to the bench and Andy Powell taking his place as blindside flanker.

Treviso, meanwhile, have made a number of changes to their starting line-up after their hammering against the Scarlets last time out.

Italy hooker Davide Giazzon comes back into the back, as do prop Matteo Zanusso and flanker Simone Favaro.

Joe Carlisle comes back in at fly-half, linking up with James Ambrosini, while Luca Morisi will get a start at inside centre.

Ludovico Nitoglia starts on the wing in a new-look back three which also features New Zealanders Jayden Hayward at full-back.

There is also good news on the bench with the return of Edoardo Gori and especially Francesco Minto, who has been out of action because of a neck injury since early February.

Form: Dragons have won just one of their last 11 Guinness PRO12 fixtures: 20-19 at home to Treviso in round 22 last season, Dragons have never begun a PRO12 campaign with four defeats. The Men from Gwent have won just one of their last five fixtures at Rodney Parade, 20-19 over Treviso in May. Benetton Treviso have slipped to six straight PRO12 defeats since beating the Dragons at Stadio Monigo on 12th April – their only victory over a Welsh region since May 2013. The Italians have not won an away game since they visited Llanelli and beat the Scarlets in the last round of the 2012/13 season. The last four encounters between the two sides have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Treviso’s only previous PRO12 victory at Rodney Parade was 33-32 on 13th April 2012.

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Lee Byrne (c), 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Ben John , 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Andy Powell, 5 Rynard Landman, 4 Cory Hill, 3 Dan Way, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 T. Rhys Thomas, 17 Hugh Gustafson, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 James Thomas, 20 Lewis Evans, 21 Luc Jones, 22 Angus O’Brien, 23 Aled Brew.

Treviso: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Andrea Pratichetti, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Ludovico Nitoglia, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 James Ambrosini, 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Marco Lazzaroni, 6 Simone Favaro, 5 Marco Fuser, 4 Antonio Pavanello (c), 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Matteo Zanusso.
Replacements: 16 Amar Kudin, 17 Matteo Muccignat, 18 Romulo Acosta, 19 Giovanni Maistri, 20 Leo Auva’a, 21 Francesco Minto, 22 Alberto Sgarbi, 23 Edoardo Gori.

Date: Sunday, September 28
Kick-off: 16:00 BST
Venue: Rodney Parade
Referee: Andrew McMenemy (SRU,32nd competition game)
Assistant Referees: Rhys Thomas, Neil Perkins (both WRU)
Citing Commissioner: Russell Howell (WRU)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (WRU)