Jones hopes Dragons can ‘do a Japan’

South Africa prop Jannie du Plessis is tackled by Japan's back row Hendrik Tui

South Africa prop Jannie du Plessis is tackled by Japan’s back row Hendrik Tui in Brighton

Kingsley Jones hopes Newport Gwent Dragons can repeat Japan’s 2015 World Cup shock by beating Montpellier’s South Africans in Europe on Saturday.

Montpellier front-row brothers Bismark and Jannie du Plessis are among seven South Africans in the hosts’ match squad.

They were also victims of Japan’s historic pool stage-win in Brighton.

“Let’s see if we can play the same and get the same result as Japan,” said Jones of the Challenge Cup semi-final.

“But you’ve got to move them around. We’ve got to match the intensity that they can bring and the physicality.”

Dragons have four South Africans in their own starting XV at Altrad Stadium in prop Brok Harris, lock Rynard Landman, scrum-half Sarel Pretorius and full-back Carl Meyer.

Montpellier coach Jake White, who guided South Africa to the 2007 World Cup crown, starts with the Du Plessis brothers in the front row, Paul Willemse at lock and Pierre Spies at number eight.

Behind the scrum, the Top 14 club have centres Robert Ebersohn and Frans Steyn, with Demetri Catrakilis at fly-half.

White has also named South African back-rower Wiaan Liebenberg on the bench.


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European Challenge Cup: Can Dragons slay Montpellier?

By comparison, it is likely only the name of Dragons number eight Taulupe Faletau will make Montpellier’s stars take notice.

Montpellier are second behind Clermont Auvergne in the French Top 14 while only Italian clubs Zebre and Treviso are below Dragons in the Pro12.

Dragons have lost their past eight Pro12 games, but shocked defending Challenge Cup champions Gloucester in the quarter-finals and Jones remains optimistic.

“We go there positively,” said the former Wales flanker, who is in charge following Lyn Jones’ departure.

“This is a really good team we’re facing and a big challenge, but Stade Francais won the Top 14 last year and we managed to do the double over them and we take confidence from that as well.

“They’re a big, physical team – we expect that. We know how they’re going to play.”

Wales centre Jamie Roberts starred for Harlequins as they beat Grenoble 30-6 to reach the final, which will be played on Friday, 13 May in Lyon, France.

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