Planet Rugby

Preview: Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues

10th April 2014 11:55

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Gethin Jenkins

Gethin Jenkins: 100 Pro12 games

Wales prop Gethin Jenkins will bring up a century of games in the PRO12 as Cardiff Blues travel to Meggetland to face Edinburgh on Friday.

Jenkins - the most-capped player ever for Wales - brings up another milestone in his career with his 100th game as he captains Blues as they head north looking to keep up the winning habit.

The coaching team of Paul John and Dale McIntosh retain exactly the same starting line-up that defeated Ulster Rugby in the last game at the Arms Park last month.

However, Wales lock Bradley Davies makes his long-awaited comeback with a place on the bench after five months out injured and there is also a return for Dafydd Hewitt among the replacements.

"Edinburgh had a good win at Dragons last time out, have international players back and play a good brand of rugby," said coach Paul John.

"It's a difficult game for us in new surroundings, but all we can do is concentrate on ourselves.

"We will look at the threat they pose, but first and foremost we have to make sure we maintain our performance and produce again.

"The boys have trained well these last two weeks and have worked hard. We now need to get that consistency in these last four games of the season. It's a challenge, but one we are all looking forward to as we look to believe in ourselves and express ourselves."

Meanwhile, Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons has rewarded last week's winning squad with reselection.

"Cardiff are a good side, who fully deserved their win against Ulster, so we know we are going to have a tough game on Friday night," said Solomons.

"They have some very good players in key positions who will present a big physical challenge, and their kicker has amongst the highest percentages in the PRO12, so our discipline has got to be good."

The match at Meggetland is the second of three games at the venue this season, with the club's last home game against Munster scheduled for Saturday, 3 May.

Solomons revealed that the players were looking forward to the more compact quarters.

"The players really enjoyed the atmosphere at Meggetland for the Ospreys match," he added.

"There is a really good spirit building and a good sense of togetherness, and it's been positive for the squad to see that progress is being made.

"Under tough conditions they came out with a win against Dragons and I think that merited the team remaining in tact for the next match.

"However, as we have said all season, we must not put the cart before the horse.

"We must perform well in order to have the prospect of getting a result."

Form: Edinburgh won their rearranged fixture at Newport Gwent Dragons on Thursday and have won the only previous match they have played at Meggetland: 31-25 against the Ospreys on 28th February. The Scotsmen have won their last two matches against Welsh regions. Cardiff Blues beat Ulster 28-23 in round 18 to end a five game losing run in the RaboDirect PRO12. The Welshmen have not won away from home in the tournament since they last visited Edinburgh on 15th February 2013 - winning 17-16 at Murrayfield. Edinburgh's only victory over Cardiff Blues in their last seven meetings in the PRO12 was 21-19 at the Arms Park in September 2012.

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Harry Leonard, 9 Grayson Hart, 8 David Denton, 7 Cornell Du Preez, 6 Mike Coman (c), 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Wicus Blaauw, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Roddy Grant, 21 Sean Kennedy, 22 Carl Bezuidenhout, 23 Sam Beard.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Isaia Tuifua, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Gareth Davies, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Lou Reed, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Gethin Jenkins (c).
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Simon Humberstone, 23 Dafydd Hewitt.

Date: Friday, April 11
Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Venue: Meggetland Sports Complex
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)

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