Preview: Cardiff Blues v Edinburgh

Date published: February 27 2015

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Filo Paulo will play his 50th match for Cardiff Blues and second-row partner Jarrad Hoeata also returns to take on Edinburgh this Sunday.

Samoa international Paulo will hit the milestone and Hoeata returns from suspension as the coaching team make seven changes to their XV.

Prop Sam Hobbs and hooker Matthew Rees, who captains the team, also return to pack down with tighthead prop Adam Jones in the front-row.

The back-row sees a call for Manoa Vosawai at number eight with Josh Navidi ruled out after suffering an injury against Treviso last week.

A new-look centre partnership sees Cory Allen, released from Wales duty, and Gavin Evans combine.

The final changes sees Richard Smith named on the wing, with Argentine international Lucas Amorosino ruled out with a leg injury.

"Edinburgh are a difficult side and we played poorly up there earlier in the season," said attack coach Paul John.

"We've got to get ourselves right, get everything functioning right from attack and defence and show some passion and play for the jersey.

"Cory Allen is back with us and Kristian Dacey too from Wales. We have made some changes and we look to get a reaction from the players.

"Our performance in Treviso speaks for itself and we have got to get it right now," he added. "We have prepared properly to face Edinburgh and then we have Connacht the week after.

"The players know that they owe everybody in the region a performance and we have got to work our socks off to get something and finish on a high."

Meanwhile for Edinburgh, David Denton returns to start at number eight while captain Mike Coman moves from there to blindside and Roddy Grant across to openside, with Hamish Watson announced on the bench for Scotland against Italy this weekend.

With fellow potential new Scotland cap Ben Toolis also named in the national team replacements, there's a change in the locks with Ollie Atkins moving up from the bench to take the number four shirt and Anton Bresler to five.

The backs remain largely similar to last week, the only change being fly-half Jade Te Rure's move from the bench to the XV.

Last week’s defeat to Ulster was a disappointment in what had been a sustained period of progress for the club and everyone is determined to redress the balance in Wales this weekend.

"We are really disappointed with last week’s loss. We have only ourselves to blame," said head coach Alan Solomons.

"We are determined to put it right this week but are appreciative of the challenge we face in Cardiff."

Form: Cardiff Blues have slipped to three straight Guinness PRO12 defeats but have not lost four in a row since this time last year, whilst their only victory at BT Sports Cardiff Arms Park in their last four fixtures in al tournaments was 104-12 over Rovigo in the European Challenge Cup on January 16. Edinburgh's three game winning run in the Guinness PRO12 ended at the hands of Ulster on Friday. Edinburgh won their most recent away game in the competitions, 16-13 at Connacht, and have not secured back-to-back away victories in the competition since September 2009. Edinburgh's 28-13 victory at BT Murrayfield in Round 8 ended a three game losing run against the Blues, whilst they have not achieved a PRO12 season's double over the Welshmen since season 2009/10.

The teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Richard Smith, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Tom Isaacs, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Manoa Vosawai, 7 Ellis Jenkins, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 Filo Paulo, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Matthew Rees (c), 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Taufa’ao Filise, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Macauley Cook, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Adam Thomas.

Edinburgh: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Sam Beard, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Jade Te Rure, 9 Grayson Hart, 8 David Denton, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Mike Coman (c), 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Ollie Atkins, 3 WP Nel, 2 Neil Cochrane, 1 Rory Sutherland.
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Grant Shiells, 18 John Andress, 19 Fraser McKenzie, 20 Hugh Blake, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Andries Strauss.

Date: Sunday, March 1
Kick-off: 12:45 GMT
Venue: Cardiff Arms Park
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Neil Hennessy (Wales), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Television match official: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

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