Dragons v Leinster - RaboDirect Pro12 match preview
Last Updated: 01/03/13 6:51pm
Regular Dragons back row Jevon Groves will play his second game at lock in Friday's Pro12 clash with Leinster at Rodney Parade.
Groves made a positive impact against Zebre last week as he played in the second row after Adam Jones was taken ill.
Head coach Darren Edwards has also put faith in young Jack Dixon, who will create a new centre pairing alongside Pat Leach. They last played side by side away from home against Bath at the Rec.
The Men of Gwent have also made a change in the front five with Sam Parry stepping in as hooker. Jonathan Evans starts at scrum-half.
Meanwhile, with a number of players available for selection this week, the Leinster management have made several changes to their starting line up ahead of the trip to Newport.
Academy prop Jack O'Connell will make his seventh Leinster appearance - and his first start - in a front row which includes Balbriggan's Jamie Hagan and Sean Cronin, who is one of five Ireland internationals to return this week.
O'Connell has featured in the province's last three wins against Cardiff Blues, Treviso and the Scarlets as a replacement.
Fergus McFadden partners the fit again Brendan Macken at centre, with full-back Luke Fitzgerald included in a pacey looking back three alongside Fionn Carr and David Kearney.
Meanwhile, Ian Madigan - who makes his 23rd appearance of the season - links up with Eoin Reddan in the half-back pairing.
Shane Jennings leads the team and starts in a re-jigged back row which includes Dominic Ryan and sees Rhys Ruddock switch to number eight. Mark Flanagan, fresh from his seasonal debut last weekend, locks down alongside his cousin Devin Toner.
After featuring prominently in the recent victories, Jack McGrath takes his place amongst a replacements bench which includes the likes of Leo Cullen and Eoin O'Malley.
Dragons: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Adam Hughes, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Steffan Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Phil Price, 7 Sam Parry, 6 Nathan Buck, 5 Ian Nimmo, 4 Jevon Groves, 3 Lewis Evans (c), 2 Nic Cudd, 1 Ieuan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Gustafson, 17 Aaron Coundley, 18 Dan Way, 19 Rob Sidoli, 20 Adam Jones, 21 Wayne Evans, 22 Tom Prydie, 23 Will Harries.
Leinster: 15 Luke Fitzgerald, 14 Dave Kearney, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Fergus McFadden, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Rhys Ruddock, 7 Shane Jennings (c), 6 Dominic Ryan, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Mark Flanagan, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack O'Connell.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Leo Cullen, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 John Cooney, 22 Andrew Goodman, 23 Eoin O'Malley.
RaboDirect PRO12 2012/13 Round 17
Munster's RaboDirect PRO12 play-off ambitions suffered a further hit as they were held 13-13 draw by the Ospreys.
Glasgow Warriors defeated Cardiff Blues 29-13 to move to the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table.
Leinster held off a one-man performance by Newport Gwent Dragons' Steffan Jones to ease to a 26-19 win at Rodney Parade.