Planet Rugby

Preview: Dragons v Cardiff Blues

24th December 2010 12:07

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T Rhys Thomas cardiff blues

T Rhys Thomas: Back for the Blues

Cardiff Blues welcome back hooker T Rhys Thomas from shoulder injury for Monday's Magners League derby with the Dragons.

The former Newport player starting in the front row, accompanied by John Yapp and Gethin Jenkins who captains the side.

Michael Paterson starts in the second row accompanying Bradley Davies while there is a totally new backrow. Tom Brown comes in at Number eight, for the suspended Xavier Rush, Sam Warburton starts at openside and Andries Pretorius at blindside.

Tom Slater will make his third Magners League start for the Blues at scrum half and is partnered by Dan Parks. Jamie Roberts makes his first start of the season, having come on at half time against Northampton Saints last weekend, and partners Casey Laulala in the centre. The back three remain unchanged.

On the bench the Blues welcome back Deiniol Jones who has returned from a fractured eye socket.

The Blues travel to Rodney Parade knowing that theDragons have won three of their last four games in the Magners League and have won three in a row at Rodney Parade in all competitions. However, they Blues have a good record having won the last eight encounters between the two sides.

Form:Cardiff Blues have won the last eight encounters between the two sides since Dragons were victorious 14-13 at Rodney Parade on this day four years ago. Dragons have won three of their last four games in the Magners League. Dragons have won three in a row at Rodney Parade in all competitions. Cardiff's only victory in their last seven matches in all competitions was 38-6 at home to Glasgow in the Magners League on 27 November. The Blues' only two away victories in the Magners League this season have both come on trips to Italy.

The teams:

Dragons:15 Will Harries, 14 Adam Hughes, 13 Tom Riley, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Toby Faletau 7 Gavin Thomas, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Scott Morgan, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Ben Castle, 2 Tom Willis (c), 1 Hugh Gustafson.
Replacements: 16 Steve Jones, 17 Pat Palmer, 18 Scott Roberts, 19 Adam Jones, 20 Lewis Evans, 21 Pat Leach, 22 Jon Evans, 23 Matthew Jones

Cardiff Blues: 15 Chris Czekaj, 14 Richard Mustoe, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tom James, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Tom Slater, 8 Tom Brown, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Andries Pretorius, 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 John Yapp, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Gethin Jenkins (c).
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Taufa'ao Filise, 18 Sam Hobbs, 19 Deiniol Jones, 20 Maama Molitika, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Dafydd Hewitt.

Date: Monday, December 27
Venue: Rodney Parade
Kick-off: 15.20 GMT
Referee: Nigel Owens

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