Preview: Cardiff Blues v Glasgow Warriors

Date published: November 6 2015

Tighthead prop Taufa'ao Filise will become the first player to hit a double century of appearances for Cardiff Blues as the region returns home to tackle Glasgow Warriors at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday.

Tongan ace Filise – already the leading appearance maker for Cardiff Blues – will bring up his landmark 200 games while a trio of star Wales internationals also make a comeback.

Head coach Danny Wilson makes a total of seven changes to the side that started against Zebre last weekend.

Gethin Jenkins is back to captain the team at loosehead prop while another change in the front row sees a return for hooker Kristian Dacey.

The other change in the pack is a call-up for Wales international captain Sam Warburton to the back row for his first appearance of the season in the seven jersey. Josh Turnbull will operate at number eight and Ellis Jenkins at blindside flanker.

A new midfield partnership will see fit-again Gavin Evans play at inside centre while Samoa international Rey Lee-Lo will make his debut for Cardiff Blues on home soil. The final change to the side is a return for wing Alex Cuthbert.

Lock Jarrad Hoeata is named among the replacements with Jarrod Evans rewarded for his eye-catching performance for the Cardiff Blues Premiership Select with a spot on the bench.

Wilson said: "It's fantastic to be coming home after two months away from BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park and we're looking forward to the clash with Glasgow Warriors.

"Our opening day victory over Zebre was a special occasion and it's vital we make our home a difficult place for any team to visit.

"Glasgow are a very talented side, who showed last weekend against Ospreys what they are capable of. Gregor Townsend and his coaching team have done a fantastic job over the last few years and they are the model for many teams to follow.

"We're delighted to welcome back our Welsh internationals and Rey Lee-Lo will also make his home debut.

"While Rey will make his first appearance we have Taufa'ao Filise making his 200th appearance which is a staggering feat.

"To play that many games for a team is a wonderful achievement and testament to his dedication and durability. We congratulate him on this special milestone.”

Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors have been boosted by the return of six players who featured at the Rugby World Cup.

Scotland internationals Stuart Hogg, Mark Bennett, Finn Russell, Jonny Gray, Josh Strauss and Ryan Grant are all included in the matchday squad.

There are 20 internationals in the squad and 15 full international caps in the Warriors starting line-up.

Hogg returns at full-back with Tommy Seymour moving to the left wing in place of Sean Lamont. Australia international Taqele Naiyaravoro comes in for Lee Jones on the opposite side.

Bennett returns to makes his first appearance in a Glasgow Warriors shirt since March and he partners Peter Horne in midfield, with Richie Vernon not involved this weekend. 

Russell replaces Duncan Weir at stand-off and Grayson Hart comes in for Mike Blair at scrum-half.

It’s the same front-row which started last weekend’s win over the Ospreys, with Gordon Reid, Pat MacArthur and Sila Puafisi combining.

Gray captains the side for the first time since being named club captain and he’ll partner Leone Nakarawa in the second-row. 

Strauss returns at blind-side flanker, while Chris Fusaro is at open-side and Adam Ashe starts at number eight, with Simone Favaro not involved this weekend and Ryan Wilson moving to the bench.

Ryan Grant returns from injury and is named amongst the replacements.

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: “Cardiff Blues have been on the road for a few games and could be boosted by the return of Welsh internationals, so we're expecting a very tough match tomorrow afternoon.

“The Arms Park is a special place to play and the artificial surface tends to promote high-paced rugby. 

“This week we once again welcome back another group of Scotland internationals, which means competition within our squad is increasing all the time."

Form: Cardiff Blues topped the PRO12 table after the opening weekend of games but since have slipped to 10th place in the table following five successive defeats. The Blues have won their last four matches in the PRO12 at Cardiff Arms Park since Leinster beat them there on 10 January. Glasgow Warriors last five matches in the PRO12 have all been won by the home team on the day whilst the champion’s only victory away from home in the tournament since February came at Connacht in April. The Blues only two victories in their last ten fixtures against the Warriors in all tournaments both came when they were drawn together in the European Challenge Cup in season 2013/14. Glasgow have been victorious on their last three visits to Cardiff Arms Park in the PRO12.

The teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Tom James, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Josh Turnbull, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Ellis Jenkins, 5 James Down, 4 Lou Reed, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Gethin Jenkins (c).
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Jarrad Hoeata, 20 Manoa Vosawai, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Tom Isaacs.

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Grayson Hart, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Josh Strauss, 5 Jonny Gray (c), 4 Leone Nakarawa, 3 Sila Puafisi, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 James Malcolm, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Greg Peterson, 20 Rob Harley, 21 Ryan Wilson, 22 Mike Blair, 23 Junior Bulumakau.

Date: Saturday, November 7
Venue: Cardiff Arms Park
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Rhys Thomas (Wales), Gwyn Morris (Wales)
TMO: Geoff Warren (Wales)