Planet Rugby

Preview: Sale Sharks v Cardiff Blues

12th October 2012 10:02

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Alex Cuthbert Cardiff Blues 2012

Back in: Alex Cuthbert

Cardiff Blues welcome back wing Alex Cuthbert to their starting line-up for Sunday's Heineken Cup clash with Sale Sharks at Salford City Stadium.

Cuthbert replaces Harry Robinson while there are four changes up front with Sam Warburton, Marc Breeze, Bradley Davies and Tafa'ao Filise starting, having missed the match against Glasgow.

"We've enjoyed a great tradition in the tournament as the Blues," said director of rugby, Phil Davies.

"We're one of the top seeds and are very eager to protect that status, so we're keen to do well in the competition as a whole.

"It will be very direct, forward battle on Sunday.

"There are areas which we can improve on, particularly the consistency with which we perform all the moves.

"We need the players to deliver that for us and we need to make sure that we give them the confidence to do that.

"We need to encourage them to play positively and get those key fundamentals right."

Meanwhile, North West youngsters Will Addison, Nathan Fowles, Mark Jennings and Tommy Taylor are all named in Sale's starting fifteen.

Addison switches to outside centre and Fowles teams up at half-back with Nick Macleod, following two appearances off the bench against Bath and Leicester Tigers. Jennings makes his senior debut on the right wing, whilst Taylor is at hooker in an unchanged pack.

"Everybody at the club worked hard last season to qualify for the Heineken Cup. Going into this game, we want to relieve a little bit of the pressure on ourselves. All we're after is a performance like last Friday, to take some of our chances, and I'm sure that win's not far away," said director of rugby, Bryan Redpath.

"Cardiff Blues have been a strong side through the years in the Heineken Cup and are the number one seeds in our pool. They'll be a tough nut to crack. We'll approach the game with increased confidence, especially after the first half display against Leicester, and we must make sure that we're smart during the second half.

"Will Addison is a very talented player. He's had to fill in on the wing to cover injuries and a suspension, but I view him as a natural thirteen. Nathan Fowles added a lot of energy when he came on last weekend and didn't look out of place. We're giving him a chance to perform on a big stage and he's got a big role to play. Mark Jennings has played well in the Jets matches and has trained well. He's a physical boy who'll come up against some big players. We need to be on our mettle - it's an opportunity for all three of them to play well in a big game."

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Sale: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Mark Jennings, 13 Will Addison, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Nathan Fowles, 8 Andy Powell, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Richie Vernon, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 James Gaskell, 21 Cillian Willis, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Johnny Leota.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tom James, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Andries Pretorius (c), 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Lou Reed, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Marc Breeze, 1 Tafa'ao Filise.
Replacements: 16 Andi Kyriacou, 17 Nathan Trevett, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 James Down, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Dan Fish.

Date: Sunday, October 14
Kick-off: 12:45 BST
Venue: Salford City Stadium
Referee: Jérôme Garces (France)
Assistant referees: Patrick Péchambert (France), Sébastien Cloute (France)
Television match official: Jean-Marie Piraveau (France)
Timekeeper: Tony Turner (England)
Citing commissioner: Iain Goodall (Scotland)

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1Leinster14
2Harlequins14
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1Ospreys15
2Racing Metro Paris14
3Northampton10
4Treviso10