NEWPORT Gwent Dragons may not have as much to play for as Treviso tomorrow evening but boss Lyn Jones insists his side will not struggle for motivation in their RaboDirect Pro12 finale (kick-off 6.30pm), writes Chris Kirwan.
The Italians currently prop up the table but if they can better the result of rivals Zebre, who head to title hopefuls Glasgow, then they will in play next season’s Rugby Champions Cup.
The Dragons don’t have quite so much on the line – a win could lift them above Connacth into ninth but they are condemned to being Wales’ worst region – but Jones is demanding his side bring an end to a shocking run of form in 2014.
They have won just once since the turn of the year and slid down from sixth after taking just seven points from a possible 50.
“Overall there have been some improvements on the field this season but we haven’t been able to sustain that and are limping to the end,” admitted the director of rugby.
“The beauty of the way that the Pro12 has been changed (in terms of qualification for Europe) is that Treviso come here with something to play for – they won’t lack motivation and don’t want Zebre taking their place in the Rugby Champions Cup.
“But we will also be highly motivated because this is a chance to finish the season on a high in front of our own fans.”
The Dragons make two changes to the side that lost to the Scarlets last weekend with Jason Tovey making his 100th start for the region at fly-half and Duncan Bell returning at tighthead.
Dragons: H Amos, T Prydie, P Leach, J Dixon, W Harries, J Tovey, R Rees, P Price, R Thomas, D Bell, A Coombs (captain), M Screech, L Evans, N Cudd, T Faletau. Replacements: S Parry, O Evans, B Douglas, R Sidoli, J Groves, J Evans, K Burton, T Morgan.
Treviso: L McLean, L Nitoglia, M Campagnaro, A Sgarbi, A Esposito, A Di Bernardo, F Semenzato, A De Marchi, L Ghiraldini, L Cittadini, A Pavanello (captain), M Fuser, C Loamanu, P Derbyshire, M Vosawai. Replacements: G Maistri, M Muccignat, I Fernandez-Rouyet, V Bernabo, D Budd, A Pratichetti, J Ambrosini, M Berquist.
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)