Lyn Jones: Dragons must stand firm against strong-running "Edin van der Burgh"
8:51am Thursday 3rd April 2014
8:51am Thursday 3rd April 2014
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones expects a brutal Boks-like approach from Edinburgh at Rodney Parade this evening.
The Scottish outfit will have a strong South African influence when they take to the field in Newport in the RaboDirect Pro12 encounter (kick-off 6.30pm).
Not only is former Springboks assistant Alan Solomons at the helm but they boast centre Andries Strauss, props Willem Nel and Wicus Blaauw, lock Izak van der Westhuizen, flanker Cornell du Preez and half-back Carl Bezuidenhout in their matchday squad.
Jones, who has selected 21 Welsh-qualified players in his 23, said that "Edin van der Burgh" would provide his charges with a forthright challenge.
"They play a typical South African game, running it hard around the corner," he said about tonight's opponents, who also boast strong-carrying Scotland forwards Dave Denton and Ross Ford in their pack.
"They've brought in some big boys and they are greatly improved from when we met them at the start of the season (when Edinburgh won 16-13 with the last kick).
"We've got a fair idea of where they are going to come from and we have to try and drag them into a game of rugby."
That alludes to trying to avoid an encounter dominated by the set piece as the Dragons strive for a massive improvement on their last Rodney Parade fixture.
They were dismantled by a Connacht side that triumphed 24-8 thanks to three driving lineout tries and another from a scrum against the head.
"The beauty of regional rugby compared to international rugby is that once you put in a performance like that is that you get another chance to put it to bed," said Jones.
"If that's your last game in the Six Nations or autumn it takes a long time to forget about it and people keep reflecting on it."
Jones hands a recall to Wales wing Hallam Amos, who returned from an ankle injury with a cameo off the bench in last Saturday's 25-25 draw with Zebre, at the expense of Will Harries.
He is joined in the three-quarters by fellow 19-year-old Jack Dixon, who slots into midfield alongside Pat Leach after Ashley Smith suffered a foot injury while scoring a try in Parma.
There are no changes up front but loosehead Owen Evans returns on the bench at the expense of Nathan Buck with Bruce Douglas providing cover for Bell rather than Price this weekend.
The eighth-placed Dragons will go above Connacht into seventh in the Pro12 with victory while ninth-placed Edinburgh would jump two places if they can win at Rodney Parade for the first time since 2006.
Dragons: D Evans, T Prydie, P Leach, J Dixon, H Amos, J Tovey, R Rees, P Price, E Dee, D Bell, A Coombs (captain), M Screech, L Evans, N Cudd, T Faletau. Replacements: S Parry, O Evans, B Douglas, C Hill, J Groves, W Evans, R Wardle, W Harries.
Edinburgh: J Cuthbert, S Hidalgo-Clyne, M Scott, A Strauss, T Brown, H Leonard, G Hart, A Dickinson, R Ford, W Nel, G Gilchrist, I van der Westhuizen, M Coman (captain), C du Preez, D Denton. Replacements: J Hilterbrand, W Blaauw, S Berghan, O Atkins, R Grant, S Kennedy, C Bezuidenhout, S Beard
Referee: Leo Colgan (Ireland)
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