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Preview: Cardiff Blues v Munster

22nd September 2011 12:18

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Richie Rees

Richie Rees: Starting for Cardiff

Cardiff Blues have made seven changes to the side that lost out in Ulster last Friday as they welcome defending champions Munster to the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday.

In the backs Dan Fish comes in for Chris Czekaj who misses the match with a shoulder injury and Richard Mustoe in for Tom James who is out with a calf strain.

Other changes in the backs see Dafydd Hewitt and Richie Rees starting with Casey Laulala and Lewis Jones dropping down to the bench.

There are three changes in the forwards with Andries Pretorius recovered from a knee injury and starting at eight, with Rush moving to the bench. Maama Molitika moves from blindside to openside in place of the injured Martyn Williams. Michael Paterson moves from the second row to the backrow. Deiniol Jones starts in the second row.

"Similar to Ulster, all Munster sides are very disciplined and structured," said Cadiff coach Gareth Baber.

"They will be physical and want to play in the right areas by implementing a good kicking game."

"They will try to use their physicality and we have to match that and put our game in place."

Having recorded two bonus point wins in their opening two matches, the Blues lost their place at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table following their 3-20 defeat at Ulster on Friday.

The Blues have won just one of their last four matches against Irish provinces and suffered a double defeat to Munster last season.

However, Baber feels that if they play to their potential the Blues can defeat the champions.

"It will be a tough match, but that's the level at which we are playing."

"We are at home so we've got to go out there with real intensity and aggression."

'There are new systems in place that the players are still learning, but we need them to come out and be at the top level on Friday."

Meanwhile, centre Danny Barnes returns to the Munster side as one of six changes to the side that started against Scarlets last time out.

The Kerryman, who missed the Scarlets game with a slight hand injury, is one of two changes Tony McGahan makes to his starting XV backline, Duncan Williams at scrum-half being the other.

Up front, Wian du Preez steps in for Marcus Horan and at tight head Stephen Archer comes in for John Hayes while Mick O'Driscoll will be partnered by Billy Holland in the second row and Tommy O'Donnell breaks into the back row in place of Niall Ronan.

Interesting newcomer to the match day squad is 23-year-old prop John Ryan. The former Ireland Schools, U19/20 international was drafted into the squad in place of Horan who is suffering from illness.

Form: Cardiff Blues lost their place at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table following their 3-20 defeat at Ulster on Friday. The Blues have won just one of their last four matches against Irish provinces. Defending champions Munster returned to the top of the table and stretched their record breaking winning run to 13 matches against Scarlets on Saturday. The Munstermen have conceded only one try in their last six matches and have now gone 322 minutes without having their defences breached. Munster themselves hold the record for the longest spell without conceding a try, with a 371 minute sequence in the 2004/05 season. Munster achieved the league double over the Blues last season, whilst the Blues have never won in five previous visits to Thomond Park.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Richard Mustoe, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Andries Pretorius, 7 Maama Molitika, 6 Michael Paterson, 5 Deiniol Jones, 4 Paul Tito (C), 3 Scott Andrews, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Nathan Trevett, 18 Ryan Harford, 19 Xavier Rush, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Casey Laulala.

Munster: 15 Johne Murphy, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Danny Barnes, 12 Lifiemi Mafi, 11 Denis Hurley, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Peter O'Mahony (capt), 5 Mick O'Driscoll, 4 Billy Holland, 3 Stephen Archer , 2 Mike Sherry, 1 Wian du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Denis Fogarty, 17 John Ryan, 18 John Hayes, 19 Dave Foley, 20 Niall Ronan, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Scott Deasy, 23 Tom Gleeson.

Date: Friday, September 23
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Kick-off: 19.05 BST (18.05 GMT)
Referee: DavidWilkinson (IRFU)

  • Munster Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , December 6
Munster vs Clermont Auvergne17:30
Sunday , December 14
Clermont Auvergne vs Munster15:15
Saturday , January 17
Saracens vs MunsterTBC
Saturday , January 24
Munster vs SaleTBC
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Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs UlsterMunster vs Ulster Preview
Saturday , December 20
Glasgow vs Munster14:40
Friday , December 26
Munster vs Leinster17:00
Saturday , January 10
Zebre vs Munster16:00
Wednesday, January 14
Munster vs Cardiff BluesTBC
Saturday , February 21
Scarlets vs MunsterTBC
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
  • Munster Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 21
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues 24 - 28 Munster
More Guinness PRO12 results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 Saracens
Saturday , October 18
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 Munster
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 10
Munster 17 - 6 Scarlets
More Guinness PRO12 results
  • Table
Pool 1
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Munster28
2Clermont Auvergne26
3Saracens25
4Sale Sharks21