Planet Rugby

Preview: Dragons v Glasgow

13th February 2013 13:26

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DTH van der Merwe

On the wing: DTH Van Der Merwe

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend has handed a first start to on-loan centre Mark Bennett for their game against the Dragons.

Bennett, who arrived in Glasgow from Clermont Auvergne in November, put in a man-of-the-match performance for Scotland U20 against Italy in the Six Nations last weekend, and will cap his week with a start at outside centre.

Fourteen of the fifteen starters for Glasgow Warriors on Friday night have played representative rugby for Scotland at age-grade, A, sevens or full international level.

The Warriors have been bolstered by the return of Duncan Weir, Henry Pyrgos and Pat MacArthur to the starting line-up, each having returned from Scotland duty to play for their pro club this week.

"Mark has had to wait a little while to make his first appearance since arriving in November but the opportunities have been limited so it's great that he can start in Newport on Friday and get a chance to show what he can do," said Glasgow boss Gregor Townsend.

Along with the re-introduction of Weir and Pyrgos to the half-back roles, Townsend is also able to recall DTH van der Merwe who has recovered from a head injury.

Byron McGuigan, who registered his first two tries for Warriors in last week's win over Zebre, moves to the right wing to accommodate the return of the Canadian flyer.

Peter Murchie and Alex Dunbar, also try scorers last weekend, retain their spots in the XV.

All three of the front row have trained with Scotland in the past few weeks with Jon Welsh starting at tight-head and Gordon Reid and Pat MacArthur forming a familiar partnership at loose-head and hooker respectively.

Tim Swinson and Tom Ryder are in the engine room and, in a mobile and aggressive back row, James Eddie replaces Josh Strauss to start alongside Ryan Wilson and John Barclay.

Meanwhile, the Dragons' only change from the team that beat Treviso last week sees prop Owen Evans replace Phil Price.

"It's brilliant and the fact that I am getting opportunities to play is even better. This time last year I'd be happy to be involved in the pro side and take any game, but now I am here and now I have had a chance I want to be involved in every single game," said Evans.

There are no changes in the backline; Pat Leach bolstered his position in the team after another man-of-the-match performance last week and a great defensive effort. He is once again paired with youngster Jack Dixon.

There are two changes on the bench, where Aaron Coundley covers the loose head and Adam Hughes adds cover in the backs.

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Will Harries, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Tom Prydie, 10 Steffan Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Owen Evans, 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 Aaron Coundley, 18 Nathan Williams, 19 Josh Tyler, 20 Jevon Groves, 21 Wayne Evans, 22 Adam Hughes, 23 Hallam Amos.

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 DTH Van Der Merwe, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Henry Prygos, 8 Ryan Wilson (capt), 7 John Barclay, 6 James Eddie, 5 Tom Ryder, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Gerwyn Price, 17 Ofa Fainga'anuku, 18 Moray Low, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 Josh Strauss, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 Scott Wight, 23 Fraser Thomson

Date: Friday, February 15
Kick-off: 19:05
Venue: Rodney Parade
Referee: Claudio Blessano (Italy)
Assistant referees: Ian Davies (Wales), Rhys Thomas (Wales)
TMO: Neil Ballard (Wales)

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