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Preview: Connacht v Cardiff Blues

14th April 2011 13:28

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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
FixtureDetails
All times are local
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 19
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Saturday , May 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues17:00
Saturday , May 10
Ospreys vs Connacht18:30
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  • Connacht Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 11
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Sunday , March 30
Scarlets 32 - 30 ConnachtScarlets vs Connacht Report
Sunday , March 23
Newport Gwent D'gons 8 - 24 Connacht
Saturday , March 1
Connacht 38 - 6 Benetton Treviso
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  • Table
Pool 3
Heineken Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Toulouse623
2Saracens620
3Connacht613
4Zebre60