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Preview: Dragons v Aironi

16th September 2011 10:25

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Dragons v Scarlets Martyn Thomas try

Return: Martyn Thomas

Dragons full-back Martyn Thomas returns to league action at Rodney Parade on Saturday as the Men of Gwent take on Italian outfit Aironi.

Head Coach Darren Edwards has made three changes to the side that took on Leinster last weekend. Wayne Evans and Lewis Evans come into the starting line-up, replacing Joe Bedford and Hugo Ellis respectively whilst Dan Way comes in for the injured Ben Castle and Andrew Coombs moves from blindside to eight.

"Although we were disappointed with the results over the last two weeks, to keep things in perspective we are missing 7 out of our first 15 at the moment through international call-ups and injury and with our squad that is a lot to accommodate," said Edwards.

"When you think that Rhys Buckley, Nathan Williams and Mike Poole all got their first taste of professional rugby over the last fortnight it shows that there is a great deal to come from this squad.

"There are a lot of positives to take out of our trips to Ireland. We had a very competitive back row with 2 international players to come back into the squad. Andrew Coombs has been very impressive in particular."

Meanwhile, Samoan winger Sinoti Sinoti is in the starting line-up chosen by Rowland Phillips as Aironi go to Newport to visit the Dragons.

In the first match at the newly-improved Rodney Parade, the New Zealand-born Samoan international will make his debut one week after his arrival in Italy, and after scoring the winning try for Hawke's Bay in the ITM Championship Final. Sinoti replaces Riccardo Pavan, who starts from the bench.

Gilberto Pavan is another newcomer to the squad as he starts for the first time this season at centre in place of injured Roberto Quartaroli. South African flanker Frans Viljoen will also make his first start of the season at blindside flanker with Josh Sole among the replacements.

New Zealand scrum-half Tyson Keats could make his first appearance for Aironi if he comes off the bench.

Form: Dragons are without a point after the first two rounds of RaboDirect PRO12 play, but both of those matches have been away from home. The Dragons have won three of their last four games at Rodney Parade. The Men from Gwent won three of their four encounters with Italian sides last season. Aironi have picked up losing bonus points in two of their last three matches, and tallied just three league points on their travels during the whole of last season. Dragons won both previous encounters with Aironi, whilst the most recent Italian team to won at Rodney Parade were Treviso in the European Cup in December 2007.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Adam Hughes, 13 Tom Riley, 12 Pat Leach, 11 Mike Poole, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Andrew Coombs, 7 Gavin Thomas, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Rob Sidoli, 4 Adam Jones, 3 Dan Way, 2 Tom Willis, 1 Phil Price.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Nathan Williams, 18 Nathan Buck, 19 Darren Waters , 20 Jevon Groves, 21 Joe Bedford, 22 Matthew Jones, 23 Matthew Pewtner.

Aironi: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Gilberto Pavan, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Nicola Cattina, 6 Frans Viljoen; 5 George Biagi, 4 Joshua Furno; 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Roberto Santamaria (capt), 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Lorenzo Romano, 19 Josh Sole, 20 Simone Favaro, 21 Tyson Keats, 22 Alberto Benettin, 23 Riccardo Pavan

Date: Saturday, September 17
Venue: Rodney Parade
Kick-off: 18.30 (17.30GMT)
Referee: Leo Colgan (IRFU)

  • Dragons Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
LV= Cup
Friday , November 7
Harlequins vs Newport Gwent D'gons19:45
Friday , November 14
Ospreys vs Newport Gwent D'gons19:35
More LV= Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Saturday , November 1
Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gons19:35
Saturday , November 22
Newport Gwent D'gons vs MunsterTBC
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
Sunday , December 21
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Zebre16:00
Friday , December 26
Cardiff Blues vs Newport Gwent D'gons14:05
Sunday , January 11
Ospreys vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
Wednesday, January 14
Leinster vs Newport Gwent D'gonsTBC
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Friday , October 24
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
  • Dragons Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 18
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Guinness PRO12
Saturday , October 11
Edinburgh 24 - 10 Newport Gwent D'gonsEdinburgh vs Newport Gwent D
Sunday , October 5
Scarlets 26 - 13 Newport Gwent D'gonsScarlets vs Newport Gwent D
Sunday , September 28
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton Treviso
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 Glasgow
Friday , September 12
Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys
Saturday , September 6
Connacht 16 - 11 Newport Gwent D'gons
More Guinness PRO12 results
  • Table
Group A
LV= Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens416
2Gloucester410
3London Irish46
4Dragons44