8:02am Friday 13th September 2013
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons expect a more abrasive, South Africa-influenced challenge when they head to Edinburgh in the RaboDirect Pro12 this evening (kick-off 7.45pm).
After overcoming the power of Ulster at Rodney Parade last Friday, the region head to the Scottish capital looking for back-to-back league wins for the first time since March, 2012.
Edinburgh are known for playing an expansive and free-running game, making the most of the wide Murrayfield pitch.
They boast a dangerous back three of Tim Visser, Nikki Walker and Greig Tonks but a change in management may prompt a different outlook according to Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones.
He expects a slightly more confrontational approach now that South African Alan Solomons is in the hotseat.
"Edinburgh do traditionally like to play an expansive game but under Alan Solomons I think they will be looking to develop a tougher, meaner edge," said Jones.
"Ulster are an established side that were very confident, Edinburgh are in the same boat as us in that they are starting afresh with a new coach.
"They have a lot to prove to each other as well as their new coaching staff."
Hooker Rhys Thomas will captain the Dragons after Andrew Coombs failed a fitness test on his left ankle, which he injured against Ulster.
The Wales lock failed to recover in time for the clash at Murrayfield but should be fine to lead from the front in next Friday's home derby against the Scarlets.
Thomas deputises, as he did in the pre-season friendly against Bath, and Adam Jones moves to the starting XV from the bench.
Matthew Pewtner replaces Tom Prydie, who also suffered an injured ankle against Ulster, on the right wing while loosehead Owen Evans and number eight Netani Talei replace Aaron Coundley and Jevon Groves respectively.
Talei and scrum-half Richie Rees are up against the side they played for last year while Lions star Toby Faletau will make his first appearance since starring in Australia from the bench.
Edinburgh: G Tonks, N Walker, D Fife, N De Luca, T Visser, H Leonard, S Kennedy, A Dickinson, R Ford (captain), W Nel, G Gilchrist, I van der Westhuizen, D Basilaia, R Grant, D Denton. Replacements: A Luitui, W Blaauw, G Cross, S Cox, H Watson, S Hidalgo-Clyne, M Tait, J Cuthbert.
Dragons: D Evans, M Pewtner, P Leach, J Dixon, H Amos, J Tovey, R Rees, O Evans, R Thomas (captain), D Way, A Jones, M Screech, L Evans, N Cudd, N Talei. Replacements: H Gustafson, P Price, F Chaparro, R Sidoli, T Faletau, J Evans, K Burton, R Wardle.
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