Preview: Northampton v Dragons

Date published: November 11 2010

Northampton have announced their line-up that will play the Dragons in the second round of the LV= Cup at Franklin's Gardens on Friday.

Northampton have announced their line-up that will play the Dragons in the second round of the LV= Cup at Franklin's Gardens on Friday.

Saints got their title defence off and running with a dramatic late draw at Saracens on Sunday. Shane Geraghty's last-minute try tied the score at 22-all, with scores from Regardt Dreyer and Paul Diggin ensuring that Saints headed home having out-scored Saracens three tries to one.

But while he acknowledged the good feeling in the Saints camp that this result has instilled, Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder has on Thursday said that a win is essential if the team is to remain competitive in the LV= Cup this season.

“Although we had a good result at Saracens on Sunday two other teams in our pool got bonus point wins, and we need to match that tomorrow to continue challenging for a semi-final spot,” he said.

“The team last week got us off to a positive start at Saracens and the squad has been in good spirits all week. Selection was very hard this week and everyone who has been chosen for the team knows what is expected of them.

“We have a home record that we are proud of and we want that to continue tomorrow evening.

“Dragons coach Paul Turner likes his teams to play an exciting brand of rugby, and they are coming to Northampton on the back of a good run of results, including an away win at the current Magners League champions.

“So it will be a tough game and we will need to be at our best to get a good result.”

Meanwhile, Steve Jones will lead the Dragons while prop Dan Way has earned himself his first start following his strong effort against Gloucester.

Welsh stars Toby Faletau and Aled Brew have been released to the region, and will both start in the contest at Franklin's Gardens.

Dragons Head Coach Paul Turner said: “This has been a particularly difficult match for us to prepare for. The LV= Cup gives us a great chance to promote our dual-contracted players and blood them amongst our more experienced players. The success of players such as Adam Hughes this season demonstrates the importance of these opportunities.

“The fact that several of our players have had to play a mid-week game in the Premiership this week has not only meant that they have missed training with us but also puts them under pressure with some playing 3 games in 6 days.

“In conjunction with our Premiership clubs the Dragons have introduced development contracts designed to increase exposure to the professional game, the Dragons have a total of 22 young players involved in dual contract agreements.

“This initiative means we work very closely with our Premiership clubs and we see this as an important vehicle for developing future Regional and Welsh talent, the emergence of Toby Faletau is testament to this.

“We're preparing for a tough match in Franklin's Gardens. Northampton are the top side in England at the moment and that's coming from a game against Gloucester who are also one of the biggest teams over the river.

“Notwithstanding these issues, I am confident that every player on the pitch will give total commitment to tomorrow night's game.”

The teams:

Northampton: 15 Shane Geraghty, 14 Joe Ansbro, 13 Jon Clarke, 12 James Downey, 11 Paul Diggin, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Ryan Powell, 8 Mark Easter, 7 Phil Dowson (capt), 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day, 4 Mark Sorenson, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Brett Sharman, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Andy Long, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Dan Sanderson, 20 Tom Wood 21 Stuart Commins, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Jamie Elliott.

Dragons: 15 Pat Leach, 14 Tom Cheeseman, 13 Tom Riley, 12 Rhodri Gomer-Davies, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Matthew Jones, 9 James Leadbeater, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Lewis Evans, 6 Hugo Ellis, 5 Rob Sidoli, 4 Adam Jones, 3 Dan Way, 2 Steve Jones, 1 Hugh Gustafson.
Replacements: 16 Lloyd Burns, 17 Nigel Hall, 18 Pat Palmer, 19 Luke Charteris, 20 Jevon Groves, 21 Wayne Evans, 22 Jason Tovey, 23 Ashley Smith.

Date: Friday, November 12
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Venue: Franklin's Gardens
Referee: Sean Davey
Assistant referees: Nick Carrick , Ashley Rowden