Planet Rugby

Preview: Edinburgh v Dragons

29th October 2009 11:12


Allister Hogg try v Leinster

Back to it: Allister Hogg

Edinburgh have been boosted by the return from injury of Allister Hogg for their Magners League meeting with the Dragons at Murrayfield.

The back-row forward, who enjoyed a brief spell coming on from the bench last Friday against Munster, will start from number eight with Scott Newlands moving across to blindside and Roddy Grant being named amongst the replacements.

Meanwhile, Greig Laidlaw is preferred at scrum-half with Mike Blair on bench duty while Scotland prop Allan Jacobsen comes back in.

But the returning 26-year-old Hogg admitted he cannot wait to lead the side once again against the Welsh region this coming Sunday.

"I'm really pleased to be back in the side and to be leading Edinburgh out again in what will be a difficult game against Dragons," he said.

"The Dragons have played some good rugby so far this season and we realise we need to match the performance we put in against Munster to keep our winning run going.

"The boys played really well last week against Munster and I enjoyed helping them win.

"My mindset will be no different this week - I'll be aiming to make sure the team performs well and that we get another win before the break in the schedule."

Meanwhile, Steve Jones will become the fourth player to lead Dragons this season.

Jones, who has shown fine form in the absence of captain Tom Willis in the number 2 shirt is a stalwart of the Dragons, having made 120 appearances for the region.

"We have rested Ashley as a precaution for Sunday's game," said Dragons Head Coach Paul Turner.

"Steve has shown great determination this season and having stepped up so successfully in the absence of Tom Willis to become one of the form hookers in Wales, I am confident that he will step up just as well as captain."

The side also sees the debut of new signing Pat Palmer at tighthead. Palmer, who joins the Dragons from Cardiff Blues, played for the Men of Gwent in the 2007-2008 season.

Dragons Academy graduate Toby Falatau is also set to make his first senior appearance as he lines up on the bench. The 18-year old back row has made six appearances this season for Premiership side Cross Keys.

Form: Both Magners League encounters between the two teams last season were won by the home side on the day, whilst Dragons have won just once in their last five trips to Edinburgh: 19-13 at Murrayfield on 12 October 2007. Edinburgh have secured back to back victories over Ulster in the European Cup and Munster in the Magners League. The Scotsmen's only defeat at Murrayfield in their last 11 matches was 19-21 to Leinster on 26 September. Dragons have just one victory to show from their last ten away trips in all competitions: 42-17 at Calvisano in the European Cup qualifying game in May. Dragons have won both matches they have played against Scottish teams this season.

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Chris Paterson, 14 John Houston, 13 Ben Cairns, 12 Nick De Luca, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Allister Hogg (capt), 7 Alan MacDonald, 6 Scott Newlands, 5 Scott MacLeod, 4 Steve Turnbull, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Kelly, 17 Kyle Traynor, 18 Craig Hamilton, 19 Roddy Grant, 20 Mike Blair, 21 Mark Robertson, 22 Steve Jones.

Dragons: 15 Jason Tovey, 14 Aled Brew, 13 Tom Riley, 12 Matther Watkins, 11 Richard Fussell, 10 James Arlidge, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Grant Webb, 7 Gavin Thomas, 6 Hoani Macdonald, 5 Adam Jones, 4 Rob Sidoli, 3 Patrick Palmer, 2 Steve Jones (C), 1 Hugh Gustafson,
Replacements: 16 Duane Goodfield, 17 Peter Bracken, 18 James Harris, 19 Toby Falatau, 20 Martyn Thomas, 21 Rhodri Gomer Davies, 22 Danny Lee.

Date: Sunday, November 1
Kick-off: 17:05 GMT
Venue: Murrayfield
Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Peter Allan (Scotland), Graham Allen (Scotland)
Television match official: Fergus Neil (Scotland)
Assessor: JimYuille (Scotland)

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