Preview: Aironi v Cardiff

07th Oct 2011, 12:44

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Richie Rees: In at nine

Richie Rees: In at nine

Cardiff Blues have made three changes for their trip to Aironi on Saturday as they look to get their PRO 12 campaign back on track.

Cardiff Blues have made three changes for their trip to Aironi on Saturday as they look to get their RaboDirect PRO 12 campaign back on track.

The Blues have lost three games on the trot, their worst run since 2009, and coaches Gareth Baber and Justin Burnell have jiggled their squad as they look to remedy the problem.

In the back-line, Dafydd Hewitt comes in at centre in place of Gavin Evans who drops to the bench. Richie Rees starts at scrum-half with Lewis Jones forced to be content with a place amongst the replacements.

There is one change in the forwards where Thomas Young comes in at openside flanker. Mamma Molitika moves to blindside to accommodate Young's arrival with Michael Paterson slotting into the second row in place of Deiniol Jones who moves to the bench.

Rowland Phillips has reacted to his team's loss to Leinster by making six changes as Aironi look to nab their second consecutive home victory.

In the back-line, Gilberto Pavan comes in at outside centre, joining Gabriel Pizarro in the midfield. Naas Olivier returns at number ten to pair up with Tito Tebaldi, who is back at scrum-half having played fly-half in Dublin.

Nick Williams is the sole survivor in the back row with Nicola Cattina and Frans Viljoen getting a run on the flanks.

In the front row, Matias Aguero is back in action in the number one jersey.

Form: Aironi Rugby won their most recent home game in the RaboDirect PRO12, 25-19, over Edinburgh in round four. Aironi have never won successive home matches in the competition. Cardiff Blues have recorded three successive defeats, the region's worst run since 2009. Blues' only away win in their last four games was 38-15 at Edinburgh in round one. Cardiff Blues took both encounters last season, and have never lost in ten previous matches against Italian teams.

Aironi: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Gilberto Pavan, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Nicola Cattina, 6 Frans Viljoen; 5 George Biagi, 4 Joshua Furno; 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Roberto Santamaria (cap), 1 Matias Aguero
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Josh Sole, 20 Simone Favaro, 21 Tyson Keats, 22 Roberto Quartaroli, 23 Riccardo Pavan.


Cardiff: 15 Chris Czekaj, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Tom James, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Maama Molitika, 5 Paul Tito (c), 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Rhys Williams,1 Sam Hobbs
Replacements: 16 Ryan Tyrrell,17 Nathan Trevett. 18 Ryan Harford, 19 Deiniol Jones, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Gavin Evans

Date: Saturday, October 8
Kick-off: 15:00 (13:00 GMT)
Venue: Stadio Zaffanella
Referee: Neil Henessey
Assistant Referees: Stefano Traversi, Filippo Bertelli