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Newport Gwent D'gons

  • Prydie,
    Penalty goals: Tovey,
8 - 24

Connacht

  • Swift, Muldoon (2), Ah You,
    Conversions: Parks (2),
  • Guinness PRO12
  • 23rd Mar 2014
  • KO 15:05
  • Ground: Rodney Parade, Newport
  • Att: 5,474

RaboDirect PRO12 preview: Dragons host Connacht

Last updated: 23rd March 2014  

John Muldoon Connacht 2013

John Muldoon: Skippers an unchanged Connacht side

Andrew Coombs for the Dragons

Andrew Coombs: Returns to the Dragons starting XV

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Welsh lock Andrew Coombs returns to the Dragons starting XV for Sunday's PRO12 clash with Connacht at Rodney Parade.

Skipper Coombs has made one appearance for the men of Gwent during his international duties and helped them gain a crucial victory against Glasgow Warriors.

He features in a starting line-up showing ten changes and one positional switch to the side that faced Ulster at the end of February.

Full-back Daniel Evans returns to the fold after being banned for five weeks for a dangerous tackle whilst playing against Newcastle Falcons.

"It's a big relief being able to play this weekend; no one likes to be out with a ban. I've had a good five weeks of hard training so I just can't wait to get back onto the field now and play," said Evans.

"I feel refreshed after this time out and hopefully I can bring some energy to the game."

Evans is joined in the back three by Tom Prydie, who is returning from an ankle injury, and Will Harries. The centre pairing takes on the form of young gun Ross Wardle and Under 20s star Jack Dixon.

Jason Tovey returns from injury to take up the place of fly-half and international scrum-half Richie Rees retains his place at number nine.

The front row has one change to it as Hugh Gustafson steps into the position of hooker. He is joined by props Owen Evans and Bruce Douglas.

Lewis Evans is moved from number eight to blindside flanker and is joined in the back row by Nic Cudd and Netani Talei. There have been seven changes made to the replacements bench.

No changes

Connacht go into the game having won their last three PRO12 fixtures but have not won four in a row in the competition since the 2002/03 season.

Head coach Pat Lam has made no changes to his side for the first time this season. Flanker John Muldoon will captain the side while Robbie Henshaw is fresh from Ireland's success to start at full-back.

The league's highest point scorer Dan Parks starts at fly-half in an otherwise all-Irish qualified squad this weekend.

On the bench, prop Ronan Loughney returns from injury while Darragh Leader is brought in among the replacement backs.

"It's been a while since our last outing but we're in good shape after training hard during the break," said Lam.

"Coming off the back of three straight wins gives us confidence but we're very much aware that we haven't won four in a row in quite some time. We also have to look at the threat of the Dragons who are a strong outfit at Rodney Parade. They've only been narrowly beaten by Leinster and Munster at home. If you look at all the games they play there, their line speed is faster, their contact is faster."

Dragons: 15 D Evans, 14 Prydie, 13 Wardle, 12 Dixon, 11 Harries, 10 Tovey, 9 Rees, 1 O Evans, 2 Gustafson, 3 Douglas, 4 Coombs (c), 5 Sidoli, 6 L Evans, 7 Cudd, 8 Talei.
Replacements: 16 Dee, 17 Price, 18 Bell, 19 Screech, 20 Faletau, 21 W Evans, 22 Smith, 23 Pewtner.

Connacht:15 Henshaw, 14 O'Halloran, 13 Griffin, 12 McSharry, 11 Carr, 10 Parks, 9 Marmion, 1 Buckley, 2 Harris-Wright, 3 Ah You, 4 Muldowney, 5 Kearney, 6 Muldoon (c), 7 Masterson, 8 McKeon.
Replacements: 16 Heffernan, 17 Loughney, 18 White, 19 Swift, 20 Browne, 21 Murphy, 22 Nikora, 23 Leader.

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Guinness PRO12 Table

Guinness PRO12 Table - March 1 2015
Pos Team P Pts
12 Zebre 16 14
Forthcoming Guinness PRO12 Fixtures
TimeFixture
Guinness PRO12
Friday 27th February
Guinness PRO12
19:35Ospreys vs Leinster
19:35Ulster vs Scarlets
Saturday 28th February
19:15Munster vs Glasgow Warriors
Sunday 1st March
12:45Cardiff Blues vs Edinburgh
17:00Zebre vs Dragons
17:15Connacht vs Treviso
Friday 6th March
19:35Cardiff Blues vs Connacht
19:35Glasgow Warriors vs Zebre
Saturday 7th March
14:40Ospreys vs Munster
17:15Scarlets vs Leinster
18:00Benetton Treviso vs Edinburgh
Sunday 8th March
16:00Dragons vs Ulster
Friday 27th March
19:35Leinster vs Glasgow
19:35Ulster vs Cardiff Blues
Saturday 28th March
TBCBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D'gons
TBCOspreys vs Zebre
14:40Scarlets vs Edinburgh
17:15Munster vs Connacht
Friday 10th April
19:35Glasgow vs Cardiff Blues
19:35Benetton Treviso vs Ospreys
Saturday 11th April
TBCEdinburgh vs Munster
TBCZebre vs Scarlets
14:40Connacht vs Ulster
Sunday 12th April
16:00Newport Gwent D'gons vs Leinster
Friday 24th April
19:35Edinburgh vs Zebre

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