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Preview: Dragons v Leinster

04th May 2012 13:11

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Luke Charteris Dragons

100th and last: Luke Charteris

Pace-setters Leinster have freshened their side following their Heineken Cup semi-final win for their RaboDirect PRO12 clash at the Dragons.

Kevin McLaughlin leads the team and he plays his 72nd provincial game after coming on as a replacement in last weekend's victory away to Clermont. McLaughlin is joined in the back-row by Dominic Ryan and Leo Auva'a, who penned a two-year deal with the province earlier this week.

Jack McGrath starts in the front-row alongside hooker Sean Cronin and Nathan White, with Devin Toner named at lock alongside Damian Browne who makes his 21st appearance of the season.

Eoin Reddan links up at half-back with Ian Madigan with Noel Reid partnering Brendan Macken at centre in a backline which features six recent Leinster Academy graduates.

Should Isa Nacewa feature from the bench - which mixes the youth of Luke McGrath and Jordi Murphy with the experience of Heinke van der Merwe - it will be the 100th time that he will do so in Leinster colours.

Meanwhile, Luke Charteris is set to captain the Dragons for the final time in Saturday's match. It will also mark Charteris' 100th RaboDirect PRO12 appearance after he was a late withdrawal before the last two Dragons fixtures.

Aled Brew is also named in the starting line-up before an off-season move abroad and will make his 100th start for the Dragons against the Heineken Cup finalists. Outside centre Adam Hughes also reaches a landmark for the Dragons as he earns his cap for 50 starts.

The Dragons have retained 17-year-old Monmouth Boys School pupil Hallam Amos at full-back and he is joined by fellow 17-year-old Jack Dixon who is named on the bench. Scrum-half Jonathan Evans makes it a trio of teenagers in the matchday squad after he was named on the bench. Both Evans and Dixon have recently been named in Danny Wilson's Wales U20 squad for this summer's Junior World Championship in South Africa.

Will Harries comes into the side on the wing in place of Tonderai Chavhanga who had minor knee surgery last week on an injury sustained in their last match against the Ospreys.

Sam Parry is the only other change to the side selected to face the Ospreys as he comes in at hooker for Steve Jones.

Form: Dragons have slipped to three straight defeats in the RaboDirect PRO12 (including two losses in a row at Rodney Parade) - the Dragons have never lost three successive home games in the tournament in the same season. Leinster are still on target to become the first side since London Wasps in 2003/04 to claim a European and Domestic double in the same season. The Leinstermen have lost just one game since September: 22-23 at home to Ospreys in the PRO12 on 23 March. Dragons have not beaten Leinster since 6 December 2009 at Rodney Parade.

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Will Harries, 13 Adam Hughes, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Lewis Robling, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Lewis Evans, 6 Danny Lydiate, 5 Rob Sidoli, 4 Luke Charteris (capt), 3 Nathan Buck, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Nathan Williams.
Replacements: 16 Steve Jones, 17 Phil Price, 18 Dan Way, 19 Jevon Groves, 20 Tom Brown, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Pat Leach, 23 Jack Dixon.

Leinster: 15 David Kearney, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Leo Auva'a, 7 Dominic Ryan, 6 Kevin McLaughlin (capt), 5 Damian Browne, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Nathan White, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Mark Flanagan, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Isa Nacewa, 23 Darren Hudson.

Date: Saturday, May 5
Kick-off: 19:30 BST
Venue: Rodney Parade
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: James Jones (Wales), David Jones (Wales)

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Recent Results
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Leinster 37 - 23 Cardiff BluesLeinster vs Cardiff Blues Report
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  • Table
Pool 1
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PosTeamPPts
1Leinster622
2Northampton617
3Castres69
4Ospreys65