Preview: Cardiff Blues v London Irish

Date published: November 18 2011

Cardiff Blues will be hoping to back up their victory at Racing Metro with another when they take on London Irish in the Heineken Cup.

Cardiff Blues will be hoping to back up their fine victory at Racing Metro with another when they take on London Irish in the Heineken Cup this Friday.

Into their side for injured duo Jamie Roberts and James Down come Dafydd Hewitt and Paul Tito.

“We enjoyed fantastic support from all the supporters who travelled over to Paris last weekend for our match against Racing Metro,” said Forwards Coach, Justin Brunell.

“It was great to hear such vocal support at the ground and it certainly lifted the players and the coaching team, so hopefully they will be equally vocal on Friday.

“I thought the support was amazing.”

Cardiff Blues openside Sam Warburton, who is in a strong back-row alongside Michael Paterson and Xavier Rush, added his view on the match.

“We secured a great win out in Paris last weekend, but know it means nothing unless we back it up with a win against London Irish tomorrow,” he said.

“The support from the Blues fans in the Racing Metro match was immense so we hope there will be a big crowd coming down on Friday and make as much noise.”

“All the World Cup players are excited to be playing our first game at the Cardiff City Stadium since returning from New Zealand and it promises to be a great match.”

Meanwhile, London Irish has made six personnel changes and two positional changes from the side that played and lost narrowly against Edinburgh last weekend.

Clarke Dermody returns to captain the side in a front-row that contains David Paice at hooker and Faan Rautenbach at tighthead prop. Declan Danaher comes in at blind side flanker. Steve Shingler moves from outside to inside centre where he will be partnered by Joe Ansbro who moves into the centre from the wing. Topsy Ojo will start on the wing.

“Both sides play entertaining rugby so it should make for a great spectacle. We know what is required of us tomorrow evening. We will go there to be competitive and look to come away with a result,” said London Irish head coach Toby Booth.

The teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Chris Czekaj, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Tom James, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Michael Paterson, 5 Paul Tito, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Tau Filise, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Marc Breeze, 17 John Yapp, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Maama Molitika, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Gavin Evans.

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Joe Ansbro, 12 Steven Shingler, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Ross Samson, 8 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Richard Thorpe, 6 Declan Danaher, 5 Matthew Garvey, 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Faan Rautenbach, 2 David Paice, 1 Clarke Dermody.
Replacements: 16 James Buckland, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Paulica Ion, 19 James Sandford, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Jonathan Spratt, 22 Adrian Jarvis, 23 Paul Hodgson.

Date: Friday, November 18
Kick-off: 20:00
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Referee: Jérôme Garces (France)