NEWPORT Gwent Dragons hooker Sam Parry is glad that he will have the reassuring sight of lock Rob Sidoli when he looks up before throwing into the lineout against London Wasps this evening.
Sidoli, the Dragons’ player of the season for 2011/12, will make his first appearance of the campaign in the Amlin Challenge Cup encounter at Adams Park.
The 34-year-old has been out of action since suffering a calf injury in the pre-season defeat to Biarritz in the south of France.
Ian Nimmo and Adam Jones have manfully filled the void in his absence but the return of Sidoli – who coaches the Dragons' defensive lineout – is a timely boost.
Wasps possess a wealth of options in their second row and have plumped for hot England prospect Joe Launchbury alongside South African ace Marco Wentzel.
The former Springbok is known as one of the best lineout operators in the Aviva Premiership, a league built on doing the nuts and bolts well.
Like Sidoli, Wentzel is a lineout coach at Wasps and is in charge of the video analysis – meaning Parry will have to be on the money this evening.
“They have some big names in that second row so that will put a lot of pressure on my throwing in but it’s gone well in training and I just have to deliver that on the pitch now,” said the 20-year-old.
“I watch a bit of English rugby and have seen Wentzel’s stats – he dominates the lineout in the Premiership so it’s going to be a good test for all of us.
“But it’s good to have a very experienced player in Sid back, he’s a calming influence and if the pressure is on he’ll pick the right call and we'll be all right.
“Sid looks after our defensive lineout and is very switched on to what we need to do, that’s great to have on the field.”
Parry makes his second start of the season tonight with veteran hooker Steve Jones given a rest.
“I’ve had a steady season so far but I am hoping for a big performance to try and put more pressure on Steve because he has set the bar high,” said Parry.
“I like to play a power game and get my hands on the ball as much as I can, so hopefully I can have a positive impact on the game.
“But English sides are notorious for their set piece and that's the part of the game that I have to concentrate on first. We’ll need to bring a bit attitude to the scrum and be accurate in the lineout.”