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Preview: Dragons v Cardiff Blues

03rd November 2011 14:03

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Jamie roberts cardiff blues

Blues boost: Jamie Roberts returns

Jamie Roberts, Gethin Jenkins and Bradley Davies will all start for Cardiff Blues in Friday's RaboDirect PRO12 hit-out against the Dragons.

The World cup stars line up for Cardiff for the first time this season with Roberts forming a centre partnership with the in-form Casey Laulala, this being the only change in the backs to the team that defeated Connacht last Saturday.

Gethin Jenkins starts in the front row in place of John Yapp. Bradley Davies forms a new partnership in the second row with James Down. Paul Tito moves to the bench and Michael Paterson moves to the blindside in place of Maama Molitika.

Lloyd Williams who also featured for Wales during the World Cup is also on the bench.

"We have a few of the Welsh boys back and I'm sure they will be firing to play for the Blues," said Tito.

"They beat us down there last year, which was disappointing and stopped us getting in the top four, so there's a lot riding on it.

"The boys obviously want to play well, so they get into the Heineken cup team as well. So a good performance against the Dragons this week is crucial for everyone."

Meanwhile, the Dragons will welcome back Wales duo Aled Brew and Lloyd Burns.

Brew and Burns have both away at the World Cup but are both now free to return to domestic action for the clash - which coincides with the official opening of the new Bisley Stand.

Brew comes in on the wing, while Burns is included on the bench.

Form: The Dragons' only victory in their last four RaboDirect PRO12 matches was 22-9 at home to Ulster in round five. Dragons have won five of their last six games at Rodney Parade in the tournament. Cardiff Blues have won back to back RaboDirect PRO12 matches, both away from home at Aironi and Connacht, but are winless in five encounters with fellow Welsh regions in 2011. The Men from Gwent ended an eight game losing streak against the Blues when the two sides last met at Rodney Parade in April.

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Tonderai Chavhanga, 13 Adam Hughes, 12 Ashley Smith (c), 11 Aled Brew, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Wayne Evans, 1 Phil Price, 2 Rhys Buckley, 3 Dan Way, 4 Adam Jones, 5 Scott Morgan, 6 Andrew Coombs, 7 Gavin Thomas, 8 Lewis Evans.
Replacements: 16 Lloyd Burns, 17 Nathan Williams, 18 Nathan Buck, 19 Rob Sidoli, 20 Tom Brown, 21 Joe Bedford, 22 Lewis Robling, 23 Steffan Jones.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Chris Czekaj, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tom James, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Michael Paterson, 5 James Down, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Taufaao Filise, 2 T Rhys Thomas (c), 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Tyrrell, 17 John Yapp/Sam Hobbs, 18 Scott Andrews ,19 Paul Tito, 20 Maama Molitika, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Gavin Evans.

Date: Friday, November 4
Venue: Rodney Parade
Kick-off:19:05 GMT
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
Television match official: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

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PosTeamPPts
1Saracens416
2Gloucester410
3London Irish46
4Dragons44