Preview: Dragons v Glasgow Warriors

Date published: September 29 2016

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Newport Gwent Dragons skipper Lewis Evans is one of ten changes made to the team that will face Glasgow Warriors on Friday.

Wing Pat Howard returns to the back three alongside fellow wing Hallam Amos and fullback Carl Meyer. The centre partnership is all change too with Sam Beard and Jack Dixon getting the nod. Fly-half Nick Macleod is back in the mix too, after sitting last week's game out due to a lower leg injury. Macleod is joined in the half-backs with scrum-half Sarel Pretorius.

The front row sees two changes made to it as hooker Thomas Rhys Thomas returns to join prop Sam Hobbs, with Brok Harris also starting. The second row has one change made it is with Matthew Screech joining Rynard Landman. The back row sees the inclusion of skipper Lewis Evans at number eight who joins flankers Nick Crosswell and Nic Cudd.

The replacements bench has five changes made to it as Rhys Buckley, Cory Hill, Charlie Davies, Angus O'Brien and Tom Prydie join Thomas Davies, Craig Mitchell and Harrison Keddie.

Peter Murchie will make his first Glasgow Warriors appearance of the season, starting at full-back against the Dragons.

The Scotland international, who has played more than 100 times for the Warriors, replaces Stuart Hogg in the number 15 shirt. He is joined in the back three by Rory Hughes on the left wing and Tommy Seymour on the right, who will be hoping to add to his seven tries from the opening four matches.

Henry Pyrgos and Finn Russell continue their half-back partnership, as do Alex Dunbar and Mark Bennett in midfield.

In the front-row former All Black hooker Corey Flynn and Scotland loose-head Alex Allan will also make their first starts of the season, with Sila Puafisi completing the front three.

Rob Harley returns to the starting line-up, joining Jonny Gray in the engine room.

In the back-row, the versatile Fraser Brown is in at open-side, Lewis Wynne starts his second consecutive Warriors game on the other flank and Josh Strauss also returns to the side at the back of the scrum.

Ayr and former Edinburgh Rugby second-row Robert McAlpine could make his debut for the Warriors off the bench.

Djustice Sears-Duru is another player who could make his competitive Warriors debut. He joins D'arcy Rae and Pat MacArthur as the replacement front-row-forwards.

Matt Fagerson is once again involved after his debut against Ulster and Ali Price, Rory Clegg and Italian international Leonardo Sarto complete the matchday 23.

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: "It's great to welcome Peter Murchie back. He's been working really hard after picking up an injury during pre-season and the return of Josh Strauss and Rob Harley from injury is also a boost.

"The inclusion of Robert McAlpine has really helped us out, increasing our squad depth at second-row. Rob is an experienced player who has been in very good form for Ayr this season.

"Rodney Parade is always a difficult place to visit and the Dragons are a hugely physical side, so we're going to have to be at the top of our game tomorrow night.”

Form: The Welshmen’s only victory over a Scottish opponent since February 2014 came when Edinburgh visited Rodney Parade in May 2015. Glasgow Warriors have slipped to successive Guinness PRO12 defeats, against Blues and Ulster, but have not lost three in a row in the same season in the Championship since the end of the 2010/11 campaign. Warriors 19-23 reversal in Cardiff in round three ended a nine game unbeaten run against Welsh regions in all competitions. Glasgow have won their last four matches against Dragons since the Welshmen’s 24-23 victory at Rodney Parade in February 2014.

The teams:

Gwent Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Pat Howard, 13 Sam Beard, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Lewis Evans (c), 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Rynard Landman, 4 Matthew Screech, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Thomas Rhys Thomas, 1 Sam Hobbs
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Harrison Keddie, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Angus O'Brien, 23 Tom Prydie

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Tommy Seymour 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Rory Hughes, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Henry Pyrgos (Co-Captain), 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Fraser Brown, 6 Lewis Wynne, 5 Jonny Gray (Co-Captain), 4 Rob Harley, 3 Sila Puafisi, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Alex Allan
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Djustice Sears-Duru, 18 D'arcy Rae, 19 Robert McAlpine, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 Ali Price, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Leonardo Sarto

Date: Friday, September 30
Venue: Rodney Parade
Kick-off: 19:35 (GMT 18:35) 
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (Ireland)

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