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Preview: Dragons v Munster

18th April 2013 11:57

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Denis Hurley Munster

Full-back: Denis Hurley

Munster have made several changes to the side that faced Leinster ahead of their trip to Rodney Parare to play the Dragons.

Only three of those who started against Leinster last weekend remain in the Munster starting XV.

The trio are Denis Hurley, Ian Keatley and Damien Varley who are included in a side comprised mostly of those players who played in the British & Irish Cup win over Cornish Pirates a fortnight ago.

With their interest in the RaboDirect PRO12 understandably superceded by involvement in the Heineken Cup Semi-Final Coach Rob Penney has rested most of his frontliners.

Academy player Ronan O'Mahony will make his RaboDirect PRO12 debut on Friday night while his academy colleague Cian Bohane named in the replacements is also in line for his first Munster senior cap.

Marcus Horan, Munster's most capped forward, is included on the bench.

Meanwhile, Dragons lock Andrew Coombs will lead the Welsh region. This will be the first time he leads the side at the home of the Dragons this season after wearing the armband for the double header match against the Scarlets and at Ravenhill last weekend.

Dragons back row and Lions hopeful Dan Lydiate will step out on the Rodney Parade field for the final time as he starts alongside Welsh star Toby Faletau.

There will also be a chance for fans to say farewell to legendary hooker Steve Jones following the announcement of his retirement through injury. The former international is the most-capped player for the Dragons, having appeared 180 times for the Men of Gwent.

Form: Newport Gwent Dragons have occupied 11th place in the RaboDirect PRO12 table since round 6, slipping to defeat in their last four matches in the competition, and have not been victorious at Rodney Parade since beating Treviso there on 8th February. The Dragons' only win in their last eleven contests against Irish provinces was 14-3 at home to Connacht on 23rd November 2012. Munster have won just one of their last six PRO12 fixtures: 22-0 at home to Connacht in Cork on 23rd March. The Munstermen's only win over a Welsh region since September was 24-18 over Cardiff Blues at The Arms Park in November. Munster have won their last four encounters against The Dragons since the Welshmen's 20-6 victory at Rodney Parade on 26th November 2010.

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Tom Prydie, 14 Matthew Pewtner, 13 Ross Wardle, 12 Lewis Robling, 11 Tonderai Chavhanga, 10 Steffan Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Rob Sidoli, 4 Andrew Coombs (c), 3 Nathan Buck, 2 Hugh Gustafson, 1 Aaron Coundley.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Tim Ryan, 19 Adam Jones, 20 Jevon Groves, 21 Ieuan Jones, 22 Wayne Evans, 23 Andy Tuilagi.

Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Ronan O'Mahony, 13 Ivan Dineen, 12 JJ Hanrahan, 11 Johne Murphy, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Cillian Sheridan, 8 Paddy Butler, 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Dave O'Callaghan, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Dave Foley, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Damien Varley, 1 Wian Du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Henry, 17 Marcus Horan, 18 John Ryan, 19 Ian Nagle, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Cian Bohane, 23 Danny Barnes.

Date: Friday, April 19
Kick-off: 19:00 BST
Venue: Rodney Parad
Referee: Claudio Blessano (Italy)
Assistant referees: Neil Hennessy, Neil Perkins (both WRU)
TMO: Denis Jones (WRU)

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