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Preview: Dragons v Zebre

03rd October 2013 11:57

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Toby Faletau Newport Gwent Dragons

Toby Faletau: Starts at eight for Dragons

The Dragons have made several changes to their starting XV for Friday's PRO12 clash with Zebre at Rodney Parade.

Adam Hughes steps up from the bench to start on the right wing in place Matthew Pewtner while Hallam Amos replaces Tom Prydie on the left wing.

International scrum-half Richie Rees comes into the run-on XV for Jonathan Evans while Jason Tovey takes over from Kris Burton at fly-half.

The front row has also had a bit of a reshuffle with Owen Evans and Sam Parry stepping in alongside Franciso Chaparro. Skipper Andrew Coombs moves to number four and Rob Sidoli comes in at number five. He returns to the second row with Coombs to get his first start of the season.

Sidoli is keen to impress in his first start of the season.

"We need to put everything in place and perform," he said.

"They've (Zebre) improved a lot, I think that they are a genuine threat as they had a really good result against the Blues which was away for them and they have some really good individuals and their core basics are very strong; they will have a good driving line outs and scrum so those are the things we need to get up to speed on quite quick."

British and Irish Lions stalwart Toby Faletau returns to the number eight jersey and he joins Netani Talei and Lewis Evans in the back row.

The centre paring stay the same with the two youngsters Jack Dixon and Ross Wardle, whilst Dan Evans keeps the full-back berth

Meanwhile, Zebre boss Andrea Cavinato has made four changes to his starting XV after last weekend's defeat to Glasgow.

Amongst the backs, Dion Berryman gets a start on the left wing with Leonardo Sarto moving over to the right wing where he replaces David Odiete.

There is also a new midfield combination with Tommaso Iannone and Gonzalo Garcia taking over from Kameli Ratuvou and Matteo Pratichetti.

Up front, there's only one change with Davide Giazzon taking over at hooker from Andrea Manici.

Form: Dragons last seven matches in the RaboDirect PRO12 have all been won by the home side on the day.Dragons have won their last four games against Italian opponents in all tournaments since losing out in Treviso in the PRO12 last December. Zebre return to the country where they recorded their maiden victory two weeks ago in Cardiff. Zebre gained a losing bonus point at home to Glasgow on Friday and are now going for a third successive league point scoring game for the first time in their history. Dragons have won both previous encounters between the two sides, although the meeting in February in Parma was by the narrowest of margins; 14-13.

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Daniel Evans, 14 Adam Hughes, 13 Ross Wardle, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Lewis Evans, 6 Netani Talei, 5 Andrew Coombs (c), 4 Rob Sidoli, 3 Francisco Chaparro, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Owen Evans.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Gustafson, 17 Phil Price, 18 Dan Way, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Ieuan Jones, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Kris Burton, 23 Will Harries.

Zebre: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Dion Berryman, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Andries Van Schalkwyk, 6 Mauro Bergamasco, 5 Marco Bortolami (c), 4 George Biagi, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Salvatore Peugini.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Carlo Fazzari, 19 Michael Van Vuuren, 20 Filippo Cristiano, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 David Odiete, 23 Giulio Toniolatti.

Date: Friday, October 4
Kick-off: 19:15 BST
Venue: Rodney Parade
Referee: Matteo Liperini (Italy)
Assistant referees : Simon Rees (Wales) and Gwyn Morris (Wales)
Citing Commissioner: Russell Howell (Wales)

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