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Preview: Dragons v Wasps

15th November 2013 10:45

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Robert Sidoli NG Dragons 2011

Robert Sidoli: Leads the Dragons

The Dragons have made eleven changes to the starting XV for Saturday's LV+ Cup clash with Wasps at Rodney Parade.

Included in the run-on side is fly half Steffan Jones who will get his first start of the season. Joining Steffan in the backs is full-back Rhys Jones who had an impressive performance last weekend. He starts alongside winger Ashton Hewitt from the Dragons academy and Matthew Pewtner.

The centre pairing of Ashley Smith and Tyler Morgan remains the same from the team that faced Scarlets and Jonathan Evans gets his fourth start of the season as scrum-half.

In the forwards, new signing Cory Hill will make his debut alongside Robert Sidoli who also takes on the role of skipper for this game.

The front row takes the form of Phil Price, Hugh Gustafson and Nathan Buck. International number eight Netani Talei takes on the challenge of blindside flanker tomorrow afternoon and he is joined in the back row by academy player James Benjamin as open side flanker and number eight Ieuan Jones.

On the bench for the Dragons are Elliot Dee, Aaron Coundley, Dan Way, Scott Matthews, Luc Jones, Dorian Jones and Will Harries.

Meanwhile, a number of changes have been made to the Wasps team that lost out to Saracens last week in the first round of the competition.

A complete change to the centre partnership sees Chris Bell return to the side alongside Ben Jacobs. Phil Swainston and Neil Cochrane join Ricky Reeves in the front row and in the second row Esteban Lozada comes into the starting line-up alongside James Cannon.

Jack Moates makes his first competitive start at scrum-half for the men in black and gold since his arrival this summer, whilst youngster Tom Howe makes his first start this season on the wing after coming off the bench last week.

Jonah Holmes again starts on the wing following an impressive performance last weekend where he was nominated for the LV= Breakthrough Player Award.

Form: Newport Gwent Dragons have lost their last four matches in all competitions since beating Mogliano, 50-8, at Rodney Parade in the European Challenge Cup on 11 October. The Welsh region's only victory over a Premiership opponent in their last nine fixtures came in the LV=Cup at London Welsh in round 4 last season. Dragons have not beaten an English club at Rodney Parade since Gloucester were the visitors in November 2010. London Wasps' four game winning run in all tournaments ended at home to Saracens on Friday. Wasps have won their last two away games, at Viadana in the European Challenge Cup, and at Gloucester in the Premiership, but have not won three in a row on the road since November 2009. The Londoners only victory in the LV=Cup in their last 11 encounters was 28-19 at home to Worcester at this stage in November 2012. The two sides have met on seven times before in all tournaments with the Welshmen's only victory being 30-29 at Adams Park in the LV=Cup in October 2011. The two sides have clashed on two further occasions in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, drawing 3-all at Rodney Parade in October 2007, and Wasps winning 21-10 in Wycombe a year later.

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Ashton Hewitt, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Matthew Pewtner, 10 Steffan Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Ieuan Jones. 7 James Benjamin, 6 Netani Talei, 5 Robert Sidoli (c), 4 Cory Hill, 3 Nathan Buck, 2 Hugh Gustafson, 1 Phil Price.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Aaron Coundley, 18 Dan Way, 19 Joe Davies, 20 Scott Matthews, 21 Luc Jones, 22 Dorian Jones, 23 Will Harries.

Wasps: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Jonah Holmes, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Chris Bell (c), 11 Tom Howe, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 Jack Moates, 8 Sam Jones, 7 Matt Everard, 6 James Haskell, 5 James Cannon, 4 Esteban Lozada, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Neil Cochrane, 1 Ricky Reeves.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Will Taylor, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Ed Jackson, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Andy Goode, 23 Charlie Hayter

Date: Saturday, November 16
Kick-off: 12:00 GMT
Venue: Rodney Parade
Referee: Steve Lee (England)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Craig Evans (Wales)

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