Preview: Dragons v Glasgow

02nd Dec 2011, 12:00

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Johnnie Beattie: 100th RaboDirect PRO12 appearance

Johnnie Beattie: 100th RaboDirect PRO12 appearance

Glasgow will eye a new club record for the most successive wins in a single RaboDirect PRO12 season when they take on Dragons.

Glasgow will eye a new club record for the most successive wins in a single RaboDirect PRO12 season when they take on the Dragons at Rodney Parade on Sunday.

Sean Lineen's side have emerged victorious from their last five matches in the tournament and a further success this weekend would see them match their current all-time best run - achieved in the final five outings of season 2007/8 and the first game of season 2008/9.

There is, however, a cautionary tale to be found in the fact that the last time they tasted success in Newport in this competition was back in September 2008.

The Dragons, furthermore, are yet to lose at home in the RaboDirect PRO12 this season.

Lineen urged his men to deliver another "rock solid" performance in what he feels will be one of the "toughest away challenges" of the whole campaign.

"The players have shown tremendous spirit and fighting qualities in recent weeks to dig out a number of important wins. Their courage and commitment and there for all to see, and it's those sorts of qualities that will be required in spades against the Dragons," he said.

"It's always a very tough, very physical match when we go to Rodney Parade, and the Dragons will clearly be very keen to continue their good home run in the RaboDirect PRO12.

"We've shown that we've got what it takes to win on the road in this competition, and the challenge now for the team is to keep that momentum going by putting in another sharp, intense display come Sunday."

With the Dragons clash being the latest in a string of "massive games" for the Warriors either side of Christmas, Lineen has taken the opportunity to refresh his starting line-up.

There are ten changes to the XV who beat Ulster at Firhill last Friday.

Behind the scrum, Peter Murchie and Colin Shaw come into the back three, Rob Dewey returns at outside centre, while Ruaridh Jackson makes his first Glasgow appearance of the campaign, having recovered from the hamstring injury he sustained against England at the Rugby World Cup.

Up front, meanwhile, Dougie Hall and Ed Kalman join Jon Welsh in the front row and Rob Verbakel teams up with Tom Ryder in the boiler house.

There is an all-new breakaway unit, with Chris Fusaro claiming the openside berth, Calum Forrester making his first appearance since suffering a knee injury in March, and Johnnie Beattie starting at number eight. The 26-year-old will be making his 100th RaboDirect PRO12 appearance.

Dewey will captain the side in the absence of Al Kellock, while 19-year-old Scottish Rugby Elite Development scrum-half Murray McConnell could make his debut from the bench.

Meanwhile, the Dragons have named Andy Tuilagi on the bench.

The new centre signing, who joined the Welsh club this week, will be looking to make an impression in his first appearance for the region if he comes on as a substitute.

There are six changes in the Dragons starting line-up from last week's loss at the Scarlets.

Wales squad member Lewis Evans comes back into the starting line-up having missed last week's game on international duty, taking the place of the injured Andrew Coombs. Fellow Wales player Lloyd Burns is also back in the Dragons ranks, named on the bench for Sunday's clash.

There is one change to the starting back-line with fly-half Steffan Jones replacing Jason Tovey in the number 10 jersey.

The rest of the changes come in the pack with Scott Morgan starting alongside Adam Jones in place of Rob Sidoli and an entirely different front row: Nathan Williams, Steve Jones and Nathan Buck coming in for Phil Price, Rhys Buckley and Dan Way.

"It has been a tough start with only two games at home so far. But it's a case of win three in a row and you'll be half way up the table," said coach Darren Edwards.

"If you win all your home games you'll be approaching the top half of the table and then it's just about getting one or two on the road and this can still be a good season for us."

Before kick-off on Sunday, there will be a minute's silence in memory of Gary Speed, the Wales football manager who sadly passed away last weekend.

Form: Newport Gwent Dragons have lost their last three matches in the RaboDirect PRO12 since their 22-9 victory at home to Ulster on September 30. The Dragons have won both of their home games in the tournament this season, whilst their only defeat in the competition at Rodney Parade since March was 13-20 to Ulster on May 6. Glasgow Warriors have suffered just one defeat in any competition since September: 13-38 at Leinster in the Heineken Cup on November 20. Another Glasgow victory would see them equal the record for their best ever winning run in the tournament: six wins in a row set in season 2007/08. Dragons' only win over Glasgow in their last seven matches in all competitions was 23-11 at Rodney Parade in round two last season. The Warriors have not won on Dragons soil in this tournament since 5 September 2008.

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Tonderai Chavhanga, 13 Adam Hughes, 12 Ashley Smith (c), 11 Aled Brew, 10 Steffan Jones, 9 Tom Brown, 8 Gavin Thomas, 7 Lewis Evans, 6 Scott Morgan, 5 Adam Jones, 4 Nathan Buck, 3 Steve Jones, 2 Nathan Williams, 1 Wayne Evans.
Replacements: 16 Lloyd Burns, 17 Phil Price, 18 Keiron Jenkins, 19 Darren Waters, 20 Jevon Groves, 21 Joe Bedford, 22 Jason Tovey, 23 Andy Tuilagi.

Glasgow: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 David Lemi, 13 Rob Dewey (c), 12 Troy Nathan, 11 Colin Shaw, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Calum Forrester, 5 Rob Verbakel, 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Ed Kalman, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Jon Welsh.
Replacements: 16 Finlay Gillies, 17 Moray Low, 18 Gordon Reid, 19 Rob Harley, 20 Scott Wight, 21 Ryan Wilson, 22 Alex Dunbar, 23 Murray McConnell.

Date: Sunday , December 4
Venue: Rodney parade
Kick-off: 16:30 GMT
Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland)