Planet Rugby



Preview: Connacht v Cardiff Blues

14th April 2011 13:28


Chris Czekaj

Czekaj: Back at fifteen

Chris Czekaj returns to the Cardiff Blues line-up for their must-win Magners League clash against Connacht on Friday.

The full-back was forced out of the Blues' draw with Ospreys a fortnight ago by a knee injury but is raring to go ahead of the trip to Connacht.

In the second change to the Cardiff starting XV, Welsh international John Yapp has recovered from a calf injury to take his place at loosehead prop.

Connacht have named an unchanged starting line-up from the team that beat Edinburgh two weeks ago.

With Michael Swift still out with a hand injury, Bernie Upton continues his partnership with Mike McCarthy in the second row.

Form: Connacht have won three of their last four games in the Magners League, whilst of late at the Sportsground their form has been impressive with five straight victories - their best ever league run.

Cardiff Blues have secured just one victory from their last four outings: 16-11 at Edinburgh on 4 March. The Blues' only away Magners League defeat since December was 12-32 against Ulster at Ravenhill on 25 February.

Connacht's only win over the Blues in their last ten encounters was 18-16 at the Sportsground on 18 September 2009.

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Brian Tuohy, 13 Niva Ta'auso, 12 Troy Nathan, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 Ray Ofisa, 7 Johnny O'Connor (c), 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Bernie Upton, 4 Mike McCarthy, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Ronan Loughney.
Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Brett Wilkinson, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Mike McComish, 20 John Muldoon, 21 Mark Dolan, 22 Tiernan O'Halloran, 23 Eoin Griffin.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Chris Czekaj, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tom James, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Maama Molitika, 5 Paul Tito (c), 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Gareth Williams, 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Michael Paterson, 20 Deiniol Jones, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Dafydd Hewitt.

Date: Friday, April 15
Venue: The Sportsground
Kick-off: 19:45 BST (18.45 GMT)
Referee: Andrew McMenemy

  • Connacht Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
Saturday , November 29
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Friday , December 19
Leinster vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , December 27
Ulster vs ConnachtTBC
Friday , January 9
Connacht vs Edinburgh19:35
Wednesday, January 14
Scarlets vs ConnachtTBC
Saturday , February 21
Newport Gwent D'gons vs ConnachtTBC
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , December 6
Connacht vs Bayonne17:00
Saturday , December 13
Bayonne vs Connacht19:45
Saturday , January 17
Connacht vs ExeterTBC
Saturday , January 24
La Rochelle vs ConnachtTBC
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
  • Connacht Results
Recent Results
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 21
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Friday , October 31
Ospreys 26 - 11 Connacht
More Guinness PRO12 results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 25
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Saturday , October 18
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 10
Benetton Treviso 6 - 9 Connacht
More Guinness PRO12 results
  • Table
Guinness PRO12 Table
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