Planet Rugby

Preview: Dragons v Perpignan

17th January 2008 14:17

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Montgomery: All set for his return to Newport

Springbok star Percy Montgomery will make his long-awaited return to Rodney Parade on Saturday as the Dragons play host to Perpignan in the Heineken Cup.

A former crowd favourite when he was playing with Newport RFC, in the days before regional rugby in Wales, Montgomery will start at full-back for Perpignan as they look to reach the quarter-finals.

Whilst the Dragons interest in the Heineken Cup faded a long time ago Perpignan are still chasing a spot in the quarter-finals and must win in Wales. A win will, depending on how London Irish fair against Treviso, see them finish as one of the best runners-up or as pool winners.

In team news, Colin Charvis returns to captain the Dragons and is joined in the back row by the ever impressive Joe Bearman and Wales cap Michael Owen.

Rhys Thomas also comes back, but Kevin Morgan (Achilles) misses out again.

Perpignan coach Franck Azema has made six changes to his side, two in the backs and four in the forwards. Christophe Manas and Adrien Plante come in on the right and left wing respectively to form an exciting back three with Montgomery.

Up front only Henry Tuilagi survives in the back-row with both Jean-Pierre Perez and Yoann Vivalda making way for Damien Chouly and Viliami Vaki. Nathan Hines has a new lock partner in the form of Georgia's Rimas Alvarez Kairelis, whilst England prop Perry Freshwater returns to captain the side.

Form: The Dragons are out of the competition but will play a huge part on the final placings in Pool One. Paul Turner's men entertain Perpignan at Rodney Parade and an upset could cost the French outfit a place in the quarter-finals. Perpignan got a bonus-point last weekend versus Treviso but need another big win to achieve a runners-up slot if London Irish win in Italy. But defeat could signal the end of Perpignan's Heineken Cup campaign so expect a fast start.

Dragons: 15 Aled Thomas, 14 Richard Mustoe/Gareth Wyatt, 13 Paul Emerick, 12 Phillip Dollman, 11 Richard Fussell, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Michael Owen, 7 Colin Charvis (c), 6 Joe Bearman, 5 Peter Sidoli, 4 Adam Jones, 3 Rhys Thomas, 2 Ben Daly, 1 Adam Black.

Replacements: 16 Kieran Crawford, 17 Hugh Gustafson, 18 Gethin Robinson, 19 Andy Hall, 20 Lewis Evans, 21 Andy Williams/Alex Walker, 22 Gareth Wyatt/Ashley Smith.

Perpignan: 15 Percy Montgomery, 14 Christophe Manas, 13 David Marty, 12 Jean-Philippe Grandclaude, 11 Adrien Plante, 10 CÚdric Rosalen, 9 Nicolas Durand, 8 Henry Tuilagi, 7 Damien Chouly, 6 Viliami Vaki, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Rimas Alvarez Kairelis, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Perry Freshwater (c).

Replacements: 16 Marius Tincu, 17 Kisi Pulu, 18 Gerrie Britz, 19 Ovidiu Tonita, 20 Chris Cusiter, 21 Nicolas Laharrague, 22 Jean-Pierre Perez,

Date: Saturday, 19 January

Kick-off: 13:30 GMT

Venue: Rodney Parade

Referee: Rob Debney (England)

Touch judges: Bruce Robinson (England), Andrew Pearce (England)

Television match official: Ed Morrison (England)

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