Preview: Cardiff Blues v Exeter

Date published: November 12 2010

Jason Shoemark will make his first start for Exeter when they tackle the Blues in Friday's LV= Cup at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Jason Shoemark will make his first competitive start for Exeter Chiefs when they tackle Cardiff Blues in Friday's LV= Cup encounter at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Having opened their Cup account with a highly convincing 29-6 victory over Aviva Premiership rivals London Wasps last Saturday, the Chiefs will be looking to follow that up against Dai Young's Welsh outfit, who themselves lost their opening game 29-19 away to Bath.

The Chiefs, however, will make the trip to the Principality brimming with confidence following back-to-back victories over Saracens and then Wasps.

Those two displays have been among the pick of the season so far and it has left head coach Rob Baxter will plenty to ponder during team selection this past week.

With vital Premiership encounters against Leeds Carnegie and Sale Sharks looming large on the horizon, Baxter clearly feels he needs to monitor his squad closely.

After giving many of his frontline aces the week off last weekend, Baxter restores a large percentage back into the fray for the clash against the Blues, who triumphed over the Chiefs 26-21 in a pre-season friendly at Sandy Park back in August.

Much has changed for the Devon club in the months which have followed, including the addition of several new faces into the playing ranks. Indeed, one of those captures is New Zealander Shoemark, who wasted little time in showcasing his talents to the Exeter public in a 20-minute cameo role off the bench against Wasps.

On Friday, the 29-year-old will get his opportunity to shine from the outset as he forms a new midfield pairing alongside Welshman Phil Dollman for the Chiefs.

He is one of 13 changes Baxter has made to his starting XV from last weekend, the two survivors from that encounter are flanker Andy Miller and winger Nic Sestaret.

Meanwhile, Dafydd Hewitt will captain the Blues for the first time this weekend when his team look to bounce back against the newly promoted Chiefs.

David Young has named his side which sees one change in the backs. Welsh international Tom James returns to the wing in place of James Loxton.

There are two changes in the forwards with Academy player Luke Hamilton coming in for Andries Pretorius at blindside and Josh Navidi replacing Ben White at openside.

“When we played Exeter in the summer we totally dominated them and were by far the better team,” said Young.

“By their own admission after the game, the scoreline looked a bit more respectable after they scored two late tries. However, you have to give them a lot of credit for what they have achieved in the Premiership.

“They have been outstanding and really deserve to be where they are in the league.

“They had an impressive result against Wasps last weekend but it's even more impressive when you look at the team they put out.

“It was arguably their second team that played a very strong Wasps outfit so we know we will have to be at our best to get a win.”

The teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Richard Mustoe, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Dafydd Hewitt (c), 11 Tom James, 10 Gareth Davies, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Tom Brown, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Luke Hamilton, 5 James Down, 4 Bryn Griffiths, 3 John Yapp, 2 Gareth Williams, 1 Tom Davies.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Tom Slater, 22 Joseph Griffin, 23 Owen Williams.

Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Nic Sestaret, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Mark Foster, 10 Ryan Davis, 9 Hayden Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 Andy Miller, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Tom Hayes (c), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Simon Alcott, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Ignacio Elosu, 19 Dave Gannon, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Garrick Cowley, 22 Igancio Mieres, 23 Matt Jess.

Date: Friday, 12 November
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Kick-off: 19:30 GMT
Referee: David Jones