Preview: Cardiff Blues v Edinburgh

Date published: September 2 2016

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Ellis Jenkins will captain Cardiff Blues as the PRO12 season kicks-off at Cardiff Arms Park against Edinburgh on Saturday.

Head coach Danny Wilson has named a strong squad containing 14 full internationals. Wales' Capital Region completed the double over the Scottish club last season and recorded an 80 per cent success rate at home, but they expect a full-blooded challenge.
 
Wilson said: "It's a home game and we won 80 per cent of our home games last year. We will be looking to start this season with a good performance which will also hopefully lead to a win.
 
"But Edinburgh have recruited well, they have a very big pack of forwards and are one of the sides in this league that play a set-piece dominant style of rugby. It will be a tough first game but because it's at home and with the form we had last year hopefully we will start with a bang.”
 
Rhys Gill, Kirby Myhill and Taufa'ao Filise make up an experienced front-row, while George Earle and Macauley Cook packed down in the second row with Josh Navidi and Nick Williams join Jenkins in the back row.
 
In the backs Steve Shingler continues at fly-half, Blaine Scully comes onto the wing and Dan Fish is given the nod at full-back. A host of Wales internationals are also named on the replacements bench, including club captain Gethin Jenkins.
 
Wilson added: "Our international players have only been back for a short period of time so there's a responsibility to make sure they are not just going from game to a break and back into a game.
 
"We've tried to make sure every player has had a window of pre-season.”

Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons has included five of this summer's signings in his starting side, all of whom are named in the backline.
 
Glenn Bryce will don the number 15 shirt for his first competitive outing with the capital club, while another new arrival, Rory Scholes, starts on the right wing with Tom Brown starting on the opposite flank.
 
Solomoni Rasolea and Sasa Tofilau are also set to make their competitive debuts for the club as they start at inside and outside-centre respectively. Scotland internationalist Duncan Weir, who joined the club prior to the new season, will start at stand-off and is partnered by scrum-half Nathan Fowles.
 
Solomons has selected an all-international front-row with Rory Sutherland and WP Nel packing down at prop either side of hooker Ross Ford.
 
Captain Grant Gilchrist will partner Fraser McKenzie at lock, while Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson start at blinside and openside flanker, with Nasi Manu at number 8. Loose-head prop Jack Cosgrove may also make his competitive debut if called upon from the bench.
 
Solomons said: "The pre season is now behind us and we are all looking forward to the start of the competition. Cardiff away is a tough opening fixture and we know that we will have to be at our best on Saturday."

Form: Cardiff Blues have lost just once in Round 1 of the PRO12 in the past six seasons, visiting Glasgow in 2013. Blues only loss in their last six PRO12 encounters was 27-40 to Ospreys on ‘Judgement Day’ at Principality Stadium at the end of April. The Blues solitary defeat at Cardiff Arms Park since last November was by a single point to Leinster in Round 15. Edinburgh are aiming for a third successive win on the opening weekend of the PRO12 Murrayfield on 1 April. The Scotsmen were victorious on their most recent visit to Wales, winning 16-15 at Rodney Parade in Round 15. The Blues' only reversal to Edinburgh in their last seven fixtures was 13-28 at Murrayfield in November 2014, whilst Edinburgh’s most recent win in Cardiff came in September 2012.

The teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Tom James, 10 Steve Shingler, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Ellis Jenkins (capt), 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Macauley Cook, 4 George Earle, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Kirby Myhill, 1 Rhys Gill
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 James Down, 20 Cam Dolan, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Anscombe, 23 Matthew Morgan

Edinburgh: 15 Glenn Bryce, 14 Rory Scholes, 13 Sasa Tofilau, 12 Solomoni Rasolea, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Nathan Fowles, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Grant Gilchrist (Captain), 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Rory Sutherland
Replacements: Stuart McInally, 17 Jack Cosgrove, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Magnus Bradbury, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Blair Kinghorn, 23 Chris Dean

Date: Saturday, September 3
Venue: Cardiff Arms Park
Kick-off: 19:35 BST (18:35 GMT)
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland), Rhys Thomas (Wales)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

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