Preview: Cardiff Blues v Glasgow

05th Oct 2012, 10:03

Share:

At full-back: Leigh Halfpenny

At full-back: Leigh Halfpenny

Cardiff Blues welcome back Leigh Halfpenny for their RaboDirect PRO12 home clash with Glasgow at the Arms Park on Saturday.

Cardiff Blues have Leigh Halfpenny back from injury for their RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Glasgow Warriors.

Saturday's game at the Arms Park sees the back return to the side after an absence due to injury as the Blues look to bounce back from last week.

"This week it is about tightening up the defence, ensuring we make our one on one tackles effectively and continue to build our set piece," said director of rugby Phil Davies on Friday.

"We also need to get our scrum more consistent. Overall it is important to ensure the consistency is there and that we are more clinical.

"It is important to encourage the players to play positive rugby; like when you see Tom James or Alex Cuthbert breaking from the back and getting the crowd on their feet.

"As a coach you have to be objective and keep the players feeling as if they are moving forward."

The Blues know it will be a tough match facing an in-form Glasgow side who have put together a run of three successive RaboDirect PRO12 victories, and have won four of their last five encounters with the Welsh regions.

Glasgow also achieved the double over the Blues for the very first time last season and are going for an unprecedented third straight win over the Welshmen.

"This week has been a really good week of preparation," continued Davies.

"We have trained against Bath, which was about creating a really competitive, high intensity environment in which to train.

"Bath came down to Cardiff for a few days and we had a number of training sessions.

'We worked on lineouts, scrums and played a 15 against 15, which was refereed by Nigel Owens.

"It is important to have a bit of variety as well as keeping the players moving forward. We are ready to play and hopefully we can get the win tonight.

"Glasgow are a high quality team. They were unlucky at the start of the season but have won their last three games.

"They are strong up front, and are lead by Alastair Kellock who is a quality international second row; the battle between him and Lou Reed is going to be interesting."

Meanwhile, Gregor Townsend's starting XV for the game shows nine changes from that which ran out in the win over Zebre.

Behind the scrum, Peter Murchie comes in at full-back for his 50th appearance in a Warriors jersey, Alex Dunbar and Peter Horne resume their centre pairing, Sean Lamont replaces hamstring injury victim DTH van der Merwe on the left wing and Henry Pyrgos starts at scrum-half.

Up front, Dougie Hall slots in at hooker, captain Al Kellock comes into the second-row, John Barclay starts at openside and Ryan Wilson dons the number eight jersey. New signing Josh Strauss, who made his debut against Zebre, moves across the back-row to blindside flanker as a result.

"It's a sign of the strength in depth we have at the club this year that despite having 10 key players injured, I firmly believe we're sending out a very strong side this week," Townsend told glasgowwarriors.org.

"A number of players who got an opportunity in the team last week certainly underlined their capabilities, and those who are coming back in this weekend know they need to maintain high standards.

"Having that level of competition is great for everyone, and ensures that there is always a real edge to our work both in preparation and out there on the pitch.

"I'm delighted for Peter Murchie that he's reaching 50 appearances this week. Tom Ryder did likewise against Zebre, and they're two of our most consistent players who work extremely hard at their game."

Form: Cardiff Blues suffered their biggest ever home defeat since the region was formed in 2003 when Ulster were the visitors to the Arms Park on Friday. The Blues have already been defeated at home by a Scottish side this campaign, losing 19-21 to Edinburgh in round two. Glasgow Warriors have put together a run of three successive RaboDirect PRO12 victories, and have won four of their last five encounters with the Welsh regions. Glasgow achieved the double over the Blues for the very first time last season and are going for an unprecedented third straight win over the Welshmen. The Warriors' only previous victory at the Arms Park came against Cardiff RFC in August 2002.

The teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tom James, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Andries Pretorius (c), 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Rory Watts-Jones, 5 Lou Reed, 4 James Down, 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Rhys Williams, 1 Campese Ma'afu.
Replacements: 16 Marc Breeze, 17 Taufa'ao Filise, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Dan Fish.

Glasgow: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 John Barclay, 6 Josh Strauss, 5 Al Kellock (capt), 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Mike Cusack, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Finlay Gillies, 17 Ofa Fainga'anuku, 18 Ryan Grant, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 Byron McGuigan, 23 Stuart Hogg.

Date: Saturday, October 6
Kick-off: 18:30 BST
Venue: Cardiff Arms Park
Referee: Giuseppe Vivarini (Italy)
Assistant referees: Tim Hayes (Wales), Phil Fear (Wales)
Television match official: Tony Rowlands (Wales)