Preview: Cardiff Blues v Treviso

Date published: March 24 2016

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Cardiff Blues head coach Danny Wilson makes a total of seven changes to the side that defeated Munster as he recalls his internationals after Six Nations duty for their match against Treviso at Cardiff Arms Park on Friday.

Fly-half Gareth Anscombe returns to the team to partner with international team-mate Lloyd Williams at half back.

Wing Tom James – the top try scorer for Cardiff Blues this season with eight in all competitions – is back while a reshuffled back line sees Rhys Patchell move to full back and Dan Fish onto the other flank.

A new-look front row will see captain Gethin Jenkins and Kristian Dacey pack down alongside Dillon Lewis, fresh from his Grand Slam winning duties with the Wales U20 side.

Lock James Down is fit to join forces with Josh Turnbull in the second row – who make his 50th appearance for Cardiff Blues – while Sam Warburton is named at openside flanker and Ellis Jenkins moves across the scrum to blindside.

Prop Scott Andrews and lock Jarrad Hoeata are among the players to return to the replacements bench.

Blaine Scully (hand), Alex Cuthbert (heel), Cory Allen (ankle), Taufa'ao Filise (knee), Chris Dicomidis (ankle), Sam Hobbs (shoulder) are unavailable for selection.

Meanwhile coach Marius Goosen has made three changes to the Treviso starting lineup compared to their last game against Scarlets. The full-back will be Jayden Hayward while on the wings are Angelo Esposito and Ludovico Nitoglia. The pair of centres will be formed by Tommaso Iannone who takes the place of Luca Morisi and captain Alberto Sgarbi. Sam Christie starts at fly half with Chris Smylie at scrum half.

The two props will be Alberto De Marchi and Simone Ferrari with the hooker Luca Bigi. Locks Filo Paulo and Tom Palmer. The back row sees Marco Barbini, Marco Lazzaroni, and Dean Budd will complete the starting lineup for Goosen.

Unavailable for selection for Treviso: Enrico Bacchin, Robert Barbieri, Marco Fuser, Ornel Gega, Edoardo Gori, Luke McLean, Luca Morisi, Duncan Naudè, Andrea Pratichetti, Roberto Santamaria.

Form: Cardiff's only defeat in their last eight fixtures at Cardiff Arms Park in all tournaments was by a single point to Leinster in the PRO12 on 20 February. They have lost only once at home to an Italian opponent, 25-30 to Zebre in September 2013. Treviso's last four matches in the PRO12 have all been won by the home side whilst the Italians have not won away from home in the tournament since the short trip to Zebre in December 2014. Blues have won only one of their last four fixtures against Treviso, 36-25 in this equivalent fixture last year. Treviso have never before achieved a season's double over the home side.

The teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Rhys Patchell, 14 Dan Fish, 13 Garyn Smith, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Tom James, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Josh Navidi, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Ellis Jenkins, 5 James Down, 4 Josh Turnbull, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Gethin Jenkins (c)
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Jarrad Hoeata, 20 Manoa Vosawai, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Aled Summerhill

Treviso: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Alberto Sgarbi (c), 11 Ludovico Nitoglia, 10 Sam Christie, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Dean Budd, 7 Marco Lazzaroni, 6 Marco Barbini, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Filo Paulo, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Alberto De Marchi
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Cherif Traorè, 18 Filippo Filippetto, 19 Jeff Montauriol, 20 Abraham Steyn, 21 Andrea De Marchi, 22 Alberto Lucchese, 23 Simone Ragusi

Date: Friday, March 25
Venue: Cardiff Arms Park
Kick-off: 19:05 GMT
Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)
Assistant Referees: Dan Jones, Martyn Lewis (both WRU)
TMO: Paul Adams (WRU)

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