Planet Rugby

Preview: Dragons v Edinburgh

02nd April 2014 11:15

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SKY_MOBILE David Denton Edinburgh

Powerhouse: Dave Denton

Edinburgh boss Alan Solomons reinstates captain Mike Coman to the blindside flank for Thursday's PRO12 visit to Rodney Parade.

This game between the eighth and ninth-placed sides, both level on 30 competition points, was originally postponed in February due to a waterlogged pitch and has been rearranged to avoid the coming weekend's Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

"There is no question that this is an important game," said Solomons.

"We're disappointed that we didn't come away with the result at the weekend. We had a number of opportunities to put points on the board and we didn't, and that cost us.

"Yes, it is positive that we are getting closer on the road but it's important that we get a result and that we understand the significance of this game.

"We need to make sure that, when we create chances, we finish them.

"We need to deliver a top-flight performance and, in any big game, that means you take your chances when they come and you give away very little."

Solomons has made two personnel changes to the side that lost to Treviso in Italy (20-16).

Jack Cuthbert moves to his favoured full-back role at the expense of Carl Bezuidenhout - who takes a place on the bench - with Sam Hidalgo-Clyne starting on the wing.

The 20-year-old has made nine appearances for the club at scrum-half in his debut season but an impressive replacement appearance on Saturday has earned him the call.

In the pack Mike Coman returns to captain the team from the blindside of the back-row, so Cornell Du Preez starts on the openside and Roddy Grant moves to the bench, where he is joined by recent arrival Simon Berghan, who replaces the injured Ewan McQuillin (neck strain).

"Sam [Hidalgo-Clyne] is scrum-half and that's where I'd like to see him longer-term but he has the ability to play on the wing without a problem given his experience in the back three as a Scotland age-grade internationalist," added Solomons.

"His is an outstanding young talent and, even though he had just a cameo, he looked dangerous. He has great feet, pace, is brave and strong. It's great to have him involved in the team.

"I think Mike [Coman] has really good leadership qualities. He adds great value to the team in that respect.

"That said, this is as much a rotation of the loose forwards, as Roddy Grant has had an outstanding season for us."

Meanwhile, promising Wales winger Hallam Amos recovers from a foot injury to start for the Dragons on Thursday, joined in the backline by new inside centre Jack Dixon, who replaces the injured Ashley Smith.

Boss Lyn Jones plumps for the same front row as that which took on Zebre last week, with half-backs Richie Rees and Jason Tovey also retaining their places.

The back-row is unchanged.

Form: Newport Gwent Dragons' only victory in the PRO12 in 2014 was 24-23 at home to Glasgow in round 15. Dragons have won their last two matches against Scottish opponents (both against Glasgow).

Edinburgh Rugby's only victory in the PRO12 since the New Year was 31-25 against Ospreys at Meggetland on 28th February.

The Scotsmen are one of only three sides yet to record an away victory in the PRO12 this season, whilst their only win on the road in the competition since December 2012 came at Zebre last March.

Edinburgh have won their last two matches with the Dragons, but both games were played at Murrayfield. The Scotsmen have not been victorious at Rodney Parade since 13th May 2006, whilst they have won only one game in Wales since 2009.

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Andrew Coombs (c), 3 Duncan Bell, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Pat Price
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Bruce Douglas, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Jevon Groves, 21 Wayne Evans, 22 Ross Wardle, 23 Will Harries.

Edinburgh: 15 Carl Bezuidenhout, 14 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Harry Leonard, 9 Grayson Hart, 8 Dave Denton, 7 Cornell du Preez, 6 Mike Coman (c), 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Al Dickinson
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Wicus Blaauw, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Roddy Grant, 21 Sean Kennedy, 22 Carl Bezuidenhout, 23 Sam Beard.

Date: Thursday 3rd April
Venue: Rodney Parade
Kick-off: 1830 BST, 1730 GMT
Referee: Leo Colgan (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Simon Rees (Wales), Greg Morgan (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)

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