Planet Rugby

Preview: Cardiff Blues v Harlequins

30th January 2014 12:05

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Isaia Tuifua Cardiff Blues 2014

On the bench: Isaia Tuifua

Cardiff Blues are poised to hand new centre signing Isaia Tuifua his debut in their LV= Cup clash with Harlequins.

Tuifua recently joined the Blues from Taranaki and the big-hitting Samoa international could now be unleashed after being named on the bench as the region looks to finish the LV= Cup on a high and build momentum before a return to the Pro12.

Tom Williams switches to full-back with Dan Fish named on the wing. Richard Smith is recalled.

Fit again fly-half Gareth Davies will partner Lewis Jones at half-back and Gavin Evans will play at inside centre alongside Wales' Owen Williams.

Filo Paulo makes is back in the second-row while Macauley Cook returns at blindside flanker.

Robin Copeland is released from Ireland and takes his place among the replacements.

"All of our players are looking forward to the game as it's another great opportunity for our young team to show just what they are capable of," said Director of Rugby Phil Davies.

"We have a number of injuries, but this is the strongest team we can send out. We will be giving it everything to secure a big result and build momentum before our return to league action next week.

"Harlequins are one of the teams in the Premiership that I admire most," he added.

"They have developed a fantastic brand of rugby with a strong set piece backed up by an attacking game full of speed and tempo.

"They've worked exceptionally hard to become one of the top sides in European rugby, have been ultra-consistent and boast a very powerful squad. We have a big challenge ahead of us, but it is one we are relishing."

Meanwhile, Harlequins have made four changes to the side which beat Leicester Tigers last weekend.

Sam Smith is named on the wing in place of Tom Williams who will be out between six to eight weeks with a leg injury, while Sam Stuart makes his first senior start for the club.

Darryl Marfo is named at loosehead prop, with Sam Twomey making his first start of the season, in the second-row. Tom Guest captains the side at number eight and will make his 200th senior appearance for the club.

Among the replacements, Elite Player Development Group (EPDG) members Kieran Treadwell (John Fisher School) and Henry Cheeseman (Whitgift School) are named, with Jordan Burns looking to make his first appearance of the season.

The teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Tom Williams, 14 Richard Smith, 13 Owen Williams, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Dan Fish, 10 Gareth Davies, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Luke Hamilton, 7 Ellis Jenkins (c), 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 James Down, 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Rhys Williams, 1 Thomas Davies.
Replacements: 16 Marc Breeze, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Chris Dicomidis, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Simon Humberstone, 23 Isaia Tuifua.

Harlequins: 15 Ollie Lindsay-Hague, 14 Paul Sackey, 13 Harry Sloan, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Sam Stuart, 8 Tom Guest (capt), 7 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 6 Joe Trayfoot, 5 Sam Twomey, 4 George Merrick, 3 Paul Doran Jones, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Darryl Marfo.
Replacements: 16 Nic Mayhew, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Henry Cheeseman, 21 Jordan Burns, 22 Louis Grimoldby, 23 Ugo Monye.

Date: Friday, January 31
Kick-off: 19:05 GMT
Venue: Cardiff Arms Park
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Neil Perkins (Wales)
Timekeeper: Lyndon Young (Wales)
Assessor: David Herbert (Wales)

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