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Solomons' call to arms

Wed, 02 Apr 2014 13:01
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Teams for Thursday
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Edinburgh return to action on Thursday to play the first of two games in hand, against Dragons at Rodney Parade.

This game between the eighth and ninth-placed sides, both level on 30 competition points, was originally scheduled for February - but due to a waterlogged pitch it has been rearranged to avoid the coming weekend's European Cup quarterfinals.

Edinburgh travel to Newport looking to better their recent run of three successive losing bonus points on the road, at a ground at which they have not tasted success since 2006.

Head coach Alan Solomons said: "There is no question that this is an important game.

"We're disappointed that we didn't come away with the result at the weekend. We had a number of opportunities to put points on the board and we didn't, and that cost us.

"Yes, it is positive that we are getting closer on the road but it's important that we get a result and that we understand the significance of this game.

"We need to make sure that, when we create chances, we finish them.

"We need to deliver a top-flight performance and, in any big game, that means you take your chances when they come and you give away very little."

Solomons has made two personnel changes to the side that lost to Treviso in Italy (20-16).

Jack Cuthbert moves to his favoured fullback role at the expense of Carl Bezuidenhout - who takes a place on the bench - with Sam Hidalgo-Clyne starting on the wing.

The 20 year-old has made nine appearances for the club at scrumhalf in his debut season but an impressive replacement appearance on Saturday has earned him the call.

In the pack Mike Coman returns to captain the team from the blindside of the back row, so Cornell Du Preez starts on the openside and Roddy Grant moves to the bench, where he is joined by recent arrival Simon Berghan, who replaces the injured Ewan McQuillin (neck strain).

Solomons said: "Sam [Hidalgo-Clyne] is scrumhalf and that's where I'd like to see him longer-term but he has the ability to play on the wing without a problem given his experience in the back three as a Scotland age-grade internationalist.

"His is an outstanding young talent and, even though he had just a cameo, he looked dangerous. He has great feet, pace, is brave and strong. It's great to have him involved in the team.

"I think Mike [Coman] has really good leadership qualities. He adds great value to the team in that respect.

"That said, this is as much a rotation of the loose forwards, as Roddy Grant has had an outstanding season for us."

* Meanwhile the Newport Gwent Dragons and Wales wing Hallam Amos returns to the starting XV to play against Edinburgh.

The 19-year-old returns after two months out suffering with an ankle injury, which happened against Irish outfit Leinster rugby in February. This will be his 33rd appearance for the region and the first time he has played Edinburgh at Rodney Parade.

Amos is joined in the back three alongside fullback Dan Evans and open side wing Tom Prydie. The centre pairing of Pat Leach and Ashley Smith has altered from last weekend, as Smith sustained an ankle injury against Zebre whilst scoring a try. Jones has selected young gun Jack Dixon to take his place at inside centre. Both halfbacks, Jason Tovey and Richie Rees retain their places from the previous encounter against Italian's Zebre.

Jones has once again put his trust in the same front row utilising Phil Price, Wales Under-20 star Elliot Dee and experienced prop Duncan Bell after they put in a great performance against Zebre. They are joined by a second row consisting of skipper Andrew Coombs and Matthew Screech. There are also no changes to the back row as Lewis Evans, Nic Cudd and Taulupe Faletau also retain their places from last weekend.

There has been one positional change and three changes to the bench. Owen Evans, Bruce Douglas, Ross Wardle and Will Harries all join Sam Parry, Cory Hill, Jevon Groves and Wayne Evans on the replacements bench.

Teams:

Newport Gwent Dragons: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Andrew Coombs (captain), 3 Duncan Bell, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Pat Price.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Bruce Douglas, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Jevon Groves, 21 Wayne Evans, 22 Ross Wardle, 23 Will Harries.

Edinburgh: 15 Carl Bezuidenhout, 14 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Harry Leonard, 9 Grayson Hart, 8 Dave Denton, 7 Cornell du Preez, 6 Mike Coman (captain), 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Al Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Wicus Blaauw, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Roddy Grant, 21 Sean Kennedy, 22 Carl Bezuidenhout, 23 Sam Beard.

Date: Thursday, April 3
Venue: Rodney Parade, Newport
Kick-off: 18.30 (17.30 GMT)
Referee: Leo Colgan (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Simon Rees (Wales), Greg Morgan (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)

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