Planet Rugby

Preview: Dragons v Treviso

06th December 2007 14:41

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Luke Charteris

Tall Order: Wales lock Luke Chateris will make his 50th start for the Dragons on Saturday

Dragons and Wales lock Luke Charteris will celebrate his 50th start for the region when the Welsh region meets Benetton Treviso in Saturday's vital Heineken Cup clash at Stadio Comunale di Monigo.

Charteris, who won his seventh Wales cap in the Test against South Africa last month and brings a massive 6 feet 9 inches presence to the Dragons line-out, joins team-mates Michael Owen, Ceri Sweeney and Gareth Wyatt among those to receive a 50th cap for the region.

Speaking about his time at the Dragons since his debut against the Blues in the then Celtic League in December 2004, the giant lock said he was honoured to reach the milestone.

"It's always a privilege to play for the Dragons and a 50th cap is a great achievement for me and the club," he said.

"We will travel to Italy looking for a win this weekend and what better occasion than on my 50th start for the team. It'll be tough for us away from home but we go with the determination to get a good result and build a solid platform for the following weekend."

Colin Charvis, who became the world's leading Test try scoring forward when he crossed for his 22nd Wales try against the Springboks, returns from the Wales camp to captain the team.

"Obviously we're back in Europe and it's a step up in terms of intensity for everyone involved," he said. "We've put in some promising performances without the results but we're a strong team with confidence in each other and our capabilities this season. We are looking to the fans to support us in these back-to-back games."

Dragons coach Paul Turner added: "The team will need to be strong to match the intensity of the European tournament and I was pleased to have key players back in contention for places, which was a great boost ahead of the weekend. Italian rugby has developed immensely over the last decade and sides have to really earn their victories at any Italian venue."

The Welsh region, on one tournament point, sit third of Pool One after suffering two defeats to Perpignan and London Irish and need to put points on the board quickly to reach the last eight for the first time.

The Italians pushed Perpignan all the way three weeks ago and coach Franco Smith will send his ever-improving men out looking to achieve their first home win in the Heineken Cup since May 2005 against Bourgoin.

Meanwhile, there are two changes to the Treviso team from that which pushed Perpignan close four weeks ago.

On the wing, Alberto Sgarbi comes in for the injured Benjamin de Jager in the only change to the back line.

Meanwhile up front, there is a return to the starting line-up for international flanker Robert Barbieri, who knocks brother Michael down to the bench.

Benetton Treviso: 15 Brendan Williams, 14 Lucas Borges, 13 Michael Horak, 12 Marius Goosen (c), 11 Alberto Sgarbi, 10 Andrea Marcato, 9 Fabio Semenzato, 8 Dion Kingi, 7 Hottie Louw, 6 Robert Barbieri, 5 Cornelius Van Zyl, 4 Antonio Pavanello, 3 Salvatore Costanzo, 2 Franco Sbaraglini, 1 Nicolas De Gregori.

Replacements: 16 Diego Vidal, 17 Michael Barbieri, 18 Silvio Orlando, 19 Will Johnson, 20 Scott Palmer, 21 Simon Picone, 22 Nathan Mauger.

Dragons: 15 Kevin Morgan, 14 Martyn Thomas, 13 Paul Emerick, 12 Rhodri Gomer-Davies, 11 Richard Mustoe, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Andy Williams, 8 Michael Owen, 7 Richard Parks, 6 Colin Charvis (capt), 5 Adam Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Rhys Thomas, 2 Steve Jones, 1 Adam Black.

Replacements: 16 Ben Daly, 17 Huw Gustafson, 18 Joe Bearman, 19 Jamie Ringer, 20 Wayne Evans, 21 Aled Thomas, 22 Ashley Smith.

Date: Saturday, December 8

Kick-off: 13:30 (12:30 GMT)

Venue: Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

Touch judges: CÚdric Marchat (France), Bernard Dal Maso (France)

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