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Preview: Cardiff Blues v Zebre

12th April 2013 10:15

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Leigh Halfpenny Cardiff Blues 2013

Full-back: Leigh Halfpenny

Cardiff Blues have included stars Sam Warburton, Leigh Halfpenny and Jamie Roberts in their line-up that will face Zebre in the PRO12 on Saturday.

Ceri Sweeney and Jamie Roberts will both play their last match at the Arms Park, with director of rugby Phil Davies paying tribute to the duo.

"Their support is hugely appreciated by us all and hopefully this weekend will be a good send off for Ceri, Tom and Jamie," he said.

"They have been great servants to the region and hopefully there will be a big crowd there to send these boys off and to finish our home campaign in a positive light."

Cardiff Blues will be looking to get back to winning ways having slipped to four successive RaboDirect PRO12 defeats and have not lost five in a row in the competition in the same season since 2004/05.

Zebre are still looking for that elusive first win in the RaboDirect PRO12, but are getting ever closer having claimed three losing bonus points in their last four games.

Cardiff Blues won 14-7 when the two sides met in Italy earlier in the season.

"When we played Zebre earlier in the season, the boys played very well and there were some great passages of play but a bit of frustration at times," added Davies.

"We didn't really capitalise and nail down the dominance we had in that game and we felt the scoreline didn't really reflect the possession we had.

"This weekend we have to win the game and win it well. We have to be direct early on, keep battling away at their defensive line and look to try and blow them away.

"It is not going to be easy as Zebre are a very physical team, a very resilient team and they keep coming and coming. If we don't perform to the level we can do, it could be tough for us.

"However, if we perform to the level we know we are capable of and build on that Ospreys performance, I am confident we will get a satisfying win."

Meanwhile, Zebre have Australian fly-half Halangahu back in action after missing four games due to a muscular injury. Three Italian internationals are ruled out however as Mauro Bergamasco, Paolo Buso and Quintin Geldenhuys sit this one out.

Form: Cardiff Blues have slipped to four successive RaboDirect PRO12 reversals and have not lost five in a row in the competition in the same season since 2004/05. The Blues suffered their first ever loss to an Italian opponent when they visited Treviso in round 18. Zebre are still looking for that elusive first win in the RaboDirect PRO12, but are getting ever closer having claimed three losing bonus points in their last four games. Cardiff Blues won 14-7 when the two sides met in Italy in round 9.

The teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Owen Williams, 13 Gavin Evans (c), 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Michael Paterson, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Lou Reed, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Marc Breeze, 1 Taufa'ao Filise.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Benoit Bourrust, 19 James Down, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Alex Walker, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Gareth Davies.

Zebre: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Giovanbattista Venditti, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Daniel Halangahu, 9 Alberto Chillon, 8 Andries van Schalkwyk, 7 Filippo Ferrarini, 6 Josh Sole, 5 Marco Bortolami (capt), 4 Michael van Vuren, 3 Luciano Leibson, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Andrea de Marchi, 18 Salvatore Perugini, 19 Nicola Belardo, 20 Filippo Cristiano, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Alberto Chiesi, 23 Matteo Pratichetti.

Date: Saturday, April 13
Kick-off: 14:30 BST
Venue: Arms Park
Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland)

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