Preview: Cardiff Blues v Munster

Date published: March 3 2017

Cardiff Blues have been forced to make four changes for their PRO12 clash with Munster on Saturday.

With Wales retaining their Six Nations players, Matthew Rees and Aled Summerhill come into the starting line-up for Kristian Dacey and Alex Cuthbert.

Rhys Gill has also been ruled out due to injury, paving the way for Corey Domachowski to start, but Josh Navidi has returned to fitness to pull on the number seven jersey.

Lloyd Williams remains captain for the clash, while fellow Edinburgh try-scorer Sion Bennett drops to the bench.

There is also a return to the match-day 23 for Wales U20s star Rhun Williams following his heroics against Edinburgh last week.

Meanwhile, Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus makes five changes and names Billy Holland as captain.

In two changes to the pack Darren O’Shea comes in to partner Holland in the second row with Robin Copeland making his return from a thumb injury to start at number eight.

Across the backline Ian Keatley re-joins Duncan Williams in the half backs with Rory Scannell and Jaco Taute resuming their partnership in midfield – Scannell overcoming the knock to his knee while Taute makes the positional switch from full-back. The final changes sees Andrew Conway return at full-back.

In managing player load Tyler Bleyendaal was unavailable for selection with Dave Foley missing this weekend’s game due to illness.

Included on the bench for the second consecutive week, should he make an appearance, the academy’s Fineen Wycherley will win his first senior cap.

Form: Cardiff Blues have won their last two matches in the PRO12, against Treviso and Edinburgh, but have not won three in a row since September. The Blues have been victorious at home just twice since round 3 of the PRO12, against Newport Gwent Dragons in round 11 and Treviso in round 15. Munster’s nine game winning streak in the Guinness PRO12 ended at home to Scarlets on Friday. The Munstermen have not lost away from home in the Championship since Leinster beat them at Stadium on 8 October.The Blues have won their last two fixtures against Munster and have only once before achieved a PRO12 season’s double over the Irishmen – in 2007/08. 

The teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Aled Summerhill, 13 Willis Halaholo, 12 Steven Shingler, 11 Tom James, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Lloyd Williams (c), 8 Nick Williams, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 George Earle, 3 Anton Peikrishvili, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Corey Domachowski
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Marc Thomas, 18 Taufa’ao Filise, 19 James Down, 20 Sion Bennett, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Garyn Smith, 23 Rhun Williams

Munster: 15 Andrew Conway, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Ronan O’Mahony, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Tommy O’Donnell, 6 Dave O’Callaghan, 5 Billy Holland (c), 4 Darren O’Shea, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Dave Kilcoyne
Replacements: 16 Kevin O’Byrne, 17 Peter McCabe, 18 Brian Scott, 19 Fineen Wycherley, 20 Conor Oliver, 21 Abrie Griesel, 22 Dan Goggin, 23 Francis Saili

Date: Saturday, March 4
Venue: Cardiff Arms Park
Kick-off: 17:15 GMT
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Emmanuele Tomò, Jon Hardy
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)