Planet Rugby

Preview: Zebre v Dragons

22nd February 2013 10:55

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Ashley Smith

Centre: Ashley Smith

Dragons coach Darren Edwards has named the experienced Adam Hughes, Ashley Smith, Wayne Evans and Phil Price in his line-up to face Zebre.

Centre Hughes moves to the right wing, similarly alongside Hallam Amos. Meanwhile Smith, Evans and Price will all take their primary positions.

Edwards' men try out a different centre pairing with Pat Leach and Smith who last played side by side against Mogliano. The Dragons smashed the Italian side at Rodney Parade 53-3. Edwards has also made a change in the front row with Price at loosehead, but has kept the same locks.

Price, who will make his fourteenth start this season for the regional side, gave his preview.

"We know what they (Zebre) are about and we played them at the start of the season, they have improved as the season has gone on, especially up front. So we have to think of ourselves and make sure that we put a good performance in," he said.

"I have come back with a more positive attitude to regain my place and try to keep it. I have worked hard this week. We have pulled tighter as a unit and we are all looking forward to the Zebre game and putting in a good performance."

As for the bench there is a welcome return from injury of Rob Sidoli who comes back after celebrating the birth of his second daughter. He sits alongside Owen Evans, Dan Way, Jonathan Evans, Tom Prydie and Jack Dixon who have all been changed from last week.

Meanwhile, Zebre will be hoping to claim their first ever victory in the RaboDirect PRO12 against a team that lost 60-3 to Glasgow Warriors at Rodney Parade last weekend.

Still without their internationals, Zebre are led by Marco Bortolami in a selection that is missing Daniel Halangahu. Alberto Chiesa subsequently wears the number 10 jersey.

Form: Zebre continue to search for that elusive first ever victory in any competition. Dragons have won just one of their last six RaboDirect PRO12 contests: 23-14 at home to Treviso on 8 February 2013. Dragons have not won away from home in the PRO12 since a visit to Edinburgh on 23 March 2012. The Welshmen have lost only one of their last five fixtures against Italian opponents. Dragons won the only previous meeting between the two sides, 37-6 at Rodney Parade in the opening round of this season.

The teams:

Zebre: 15 Alberto Benettin, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Samuele Pace, 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Sinoti Sinoti 10 Alberto Chiesa, 9 Alberto Chillon, 8 Andries van Schlakwyk, 7 Josh Sole, 6 Filippo Ferrarini, 5 Marco Bortolami (capt), 4 Michael van Vuren, 3 Luca Redolfini, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Andrea Manici, 17 Andrea de Marchi, 18 Carlo Fazzari, 19 Emiliano Caffini, 20 Filippo Cristiano, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Paolo Buso, 23 Andrea Bacchetti.

Dragons: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Adam Hughes, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Steffan Jones, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Phil Price, 7 Hugh Gustafson, 6 Nathan Buck, 5 Ian Nimmo, 4 Adam Jones, 3 Lewis Evans (capt), 2 Nic Cudd, 1 Ieuan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Dan Way, 19 Rob Sidoli, 20 Jevon Groves, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Tom Prydie, 23 Jack Dixon.

Date: Sunday, February 24
Kick-off: 15:05 local (14:05 GMT)
Venue: Stadio XXV Aprile
Referee: Leo Colgan (Ireland)

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