Planet Rugby

Preview: Scarlets v Cardiff Blues

09th May 2014 12:05

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Alex Cuthbert Cardiff Blues v Toulon Heineken Cup Pool Six Cardiff Arms Park

50th Blues cap: Alex Cuthbert

Wingers Alex Cuthbert and Harry Robinson will both play their 50th game for Cardiff Blues in Saturday's Pro 12 clash away to the Scarlets.

Cuthbert and Robinson, who will move to Saturday's opponents Scarlets in the summer, will hit the half century as Blues hunt a fifth successive league victory to finish the campaign in style.

Coaching duo Dale McIntosh and Paul John make a number of changes to the side that claimed a hard-fought victory over Connacht Rugby last time out.

Centre Isaia Tuifua comes into the starting line-up for the derby clash while there is also a start for fly half Simon Humberstone with Gareth Davies missing the game through injury.

Robin Copeland will make his last appearance for the Blues at eight while Lewis Jones starts at scrum half as Lloyd Williams moves to the bench.

"The confidence we have picked up in recent weeks has helped us. That showed against Connacht in the manner in which we fought back to get the win and we want to keep that going now until the final match," said coach Paul John .

"We wanted to finish the season positively after what happened at Ospreys and we have done that with four wins on a bounce. It will be difficult at Scarlets, they have qualified for the top European competition and they will want revenge after what happened at Judgement Day.

"It's always very tight when two regions go against each other, it's a local derby and it will be exciting for everyone.

"We make some changes as we have some aching bodies and injuries. However, those that go out on the field will want to finish strongly.

"A number of players will leave us after this game and it's important they finish on a high for Blues."

Meanwhile, Jonathan Davies and Josh Turnbull will farewell to the Scarlets.

Scarlets Head Coach Simon Easterby has made five changes to his starting line-up from the side that secured victory, and European qualification, over Newport Gwent Dragons last Friday evening. Steven Shingler moves from fullback to partner captain Jonathan Davies in the centre with Liam Williams making a return to the fullback berth after a two week ban.

Rhodri Williams is handed a start at scrum half with Gareth Davies moving to the replacements bench. Two changes in the pack see Johan Snyman replace the injured George Earle in the second row with Aaron Shingler coming in to the backrow for John Barclay who has undergone routine surgery on his shoulder.

"It's important that we've secured European rugby, we've shown in patches that we've been very good. It was vital that we got that top sixth birth, but we want to finish the season on a high," said Easterby.

Form: Scarlets have already secured European Champions Cup rugby for next season and sixth spot in the RaboDirect PRO12. Scarlets only defeat in their last four PRO12 matches was to Cardiff Blues at Millennium Stadium in the Judgement Day game, 3 weeks ago. Scarlets are unbeaten at Parc y Scarlets in the PRO12 in 2014. Cardiff Blues have won their last four matches since their defeat at Ospreys in round 17 - equalling their best run in the competition since 2010/11. Blues have won only once at a fellow Welsh Region in the last four season of PRO12 play: 16-5 at the Dragons in September 2012. Cardiff Blues' 17-13 victory over Scarlets on 'Judgement Day' ended eight game losing run to their opponents from the West in all tournaments.

The teams:

Scarlets:15 Liam Williams, 14 Kristian Phillips, 13 Jonathan Davies (c), 12 Steven Shingler, 11 Jordan Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Rob McCusker 7 Aaron Shingler, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Phil John,
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Richard Kelly, 20 Sione Timani, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Olly Barkley, 23 Gareth Maule

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

Date: Saturday, April 10
Venue: Parc y Scarlets
Kick-off: 18.30 BST
Referee: Ian Davies (WRU)

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