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Preview: Dragons v Edinburgh

15th April 2010 18:33

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Ross Ford scotland 2009

Ready to motor: Ross Ford

Scotland hooker Ross Ford will make his first start since the Six Nations in Edinburgh's Magners League game against the Dragons on Sunday.

The 25-year-old is one of two changes to the side narrowly beaten at Connacht two weeks ago, with Ross Rennie also returning at openside flanker.

Ford's recall means Andrew Kelly has to make do with a place on the bench.

"There is a lot of competition for the hooker position between Ross and Andy," said Edinburgh coach Rob Moffat.

"It has been a long season for Ross taking into consideration the fact he was on the Lions tour and has since played in the autumn Tests and Six Nations.

"He looks refreshed and played in the second half at Connacht.

"We are looking for a big performance from Ross and we are looking for a big display from everybody involved."

Fellow Scotland international Rennie last played during March's home win over the Scarlets as his comeback from a nightmare knee injury continues to be carefully managed.

"It is three weeks since he last played and we are looking forward to seeing what he will add to the team on his return" Moffat added.

"Roddy Grant has been outstanding on a consistent basis this season, but we felt it was the right decision to make."

Vice-captain Allister Hogg has now resumed competitive action - after representing Watsonians at the Melrose Sevens last weekend - and the Scotland back row is expected to continue his comeback from hip surgery for the Myreside-based club on Saturday.

Nick De Luca remains sidelined by a groin injury.

Meanwhile, Paul Turner has made two changes to the Dragons starting XV who travelled to Glasgow last weekend.

Tom Riley moves to the bench, making way for Ashley Smith at inside centre.

While the back row sees the return of Joe Bearman at flank,replacing Andrew Coombs, though the Newport RFC Captain earns a place on the bench.

Form: Edinburgh last defeated the Dragons on Welsh soil in May 2006 - a convincing 37-11 win - and there are eight survivors from that victory named in Sunday's squad - Allan Jacobsen, David Callam, Phil Godman, Mike Blair, Ross Rennie, Andrew Kelly, Kyle Traynor and Simon Webster. The Dragons' last four matches in the Magners League have all been won by the home side on the day. The Dragons have won eight of their last nine games at Rodney Parade in the league. Edinburgh's last seven encounters in all competitions have been won by the home side on the day, whilst the Scotsmen's only victory on the road since September was 17-16 at the Scarlets on 4 December. The Dragons beat Edinburgh 9-8 at Murrayfield in Round Seven of the Magners League but have not achieved a league double over the Scotsmen since season 2003/04.

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Will Harries, 13 Matthew Watkins, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Richards Fussell, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Toby Faletau 7 Gavin Thomas, 6 Joe Bearman, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Rob Sidoli, 3 Pat Palmer, 2 Tom Willis (c), 1 Hugh Gustafson. Replacements: 16 Lloyd Burns, 17 Ben Castle, 18 Hoani MacDoanld, 19 Andrew Coombs, 20 Tom Riley, 21 James Arlidge, 22 Alex Walker

Edinburgh: 15 Jim Thompson, 14 Mark Robertson, 13 Ben Cairns, 12 John Houston, 11 Tim Visser10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair (captain), 8 David Callam, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Alan MacDonald, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Scott MacLeod, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements (from): Andrew Kelly, Kyle Traynor, Steve Turnbull/Fraser McKenzie, Scott Newlands/Roddy Grant, Greig Laidlaw, David Blair, Simon Webster/Andrew Turnbull.

Date: Sunday, April 18
Venue: Rodney Parade
Kick-off: 17:05 BST
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: David Bodilly (Wales), David Jones (Wales)
TMO: Neil Ballard (Wales)

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