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Preview: Dragons v Cardiff

14th March 2012 12:41

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SKY_MOBILE Dafydd Hewitt - Cardiff Blues

Back for the Blues: Dafydd Hewitt

Cardiff Blues welcome back Dafydd Hewitt for Thursday's rearranged Pro12 clash with the Dragons at Rodney Parade.

Hewitt returns after recovering from a hamstring injury as the Blues look to make up lost ground on the road.

A win would lift the Blues above Glasgow Warriors in the table and into the play-off zone for the first time since Round 7.

In other team news Chris Czekaj moves from wing to full-back with Ben Blair moving to the bench alongside Ceri Sweeney.

Teenage winger Harry Robinson, who was selected in Warren Gatland's Wales squad makes his RaboDirect starting debut, having come off the bench against Leinster and Treviso, in place of Richard Mustoe who is out with a hip injury.

There is only one change in the forwards with Macauley Cook starting in the second row in place of the injured Paul Tito. T Rhys Thomas captains the side.

Centres Casey Laulala and Gavin Henson are unavailable due to injury and illness respectively.

Meanwhile, the Dragons have made two changes to their team and a further two positional changes.

Martyn Thomas comes back into the side at full-back having missed the Munster game with concussion. Will Harries moves to wing to accommodate the change with Tonderai Chavhanga named among the substitutes.

In the forwards, Luke Charteris's absence with the Wales squad means that Jevon Groves moves into the second row and Darren Waters comes in at openside.

Lewis Rolbling continues at 10 after his impressive outing on his first start at fly-half against Munster.

On the bench, Newport's Hywel Stoddart is selected in the Dragons squad for the first time as back row cover.

Form:: This match was originally postponed on 4 November due to a waterlogged pitch. Dragons have won three of their last five games in the RaboDirect PRO12, whilst their 14-24 home defeat to Munster on Sunday was their first reversal at Rodney Parade since Scarlets were the visitors on 30 December. Dragons only victory over a fellow Welsh region this season was 21-20 at home to Ospreys on 6 January. Cardiff Blues have lost just one of their last five matches in all competitions: 13-16 in Munster on 24 February. The Blues' solo victory over another Welsh side since December 2010 was 28-9 over the Dragons in their clash in round eleven of the RaboDirect PRO12. Dragons have beaten the Blues just once in their last ten meetings since December 2006: 28-15 at Rodney Parade in this equivalent fixture last season.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Dragons: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Will Harries, 13 Andy Tuilagi, 12 Ashley Smith (c) 11 Aled Brew, 10 Lewis Robling, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Tom Brown. 7 Darren Waters, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Rob Sidoli, 4 Jevon Groves, 3 Nathan Buck, 2 Steve Jones, 1 Nathan Williams.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Phil Price, 18 Dan Way, 19 Hugo Ellis, 20 Hywel Stoddart, 21 Joe Bedford, 22 Tonderai Chavhanga, 23 Steffan Jones.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Chris Czekaj, 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Tom James, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Michael Paterson, 5 Cory Hill, 4 Macualey Cook, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 T Rhys Thomas (c), 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Tyrell, 17 John Yapp, 18 Ryan Harford, 19 Maama Molitika, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Ben Blair.

Date: Thursday, March 15
Venue: Rodney Parade
Kick-off: 19.05
Referee: Leighton Hodges (WRU)

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1Saracens416
2Gloucester410
3London Irish46
4Dragons44