Planet Rugby

Preview: Glasgow v Cardiff Blues

22nd November 2007 09:33

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Dai Young of Cardiff Blues with a coffee

Dai Young: Expecting a tough battle in Scotland

Cardiff Blues return to Magners League action on Friday when they head to Scotland to take on Glasgow at Firhill.

The Blues are enjoying a rich vein of form at present, top of the Magners League and top of their Heineken Cup pool.

But, with Wales taking on South Africa on Saturday, they will be missing several player.

"Obviously we are all pleased to be top of our group in the Heineken Cup but our focus this week will be totally on Glasgow and the Magners League," said Blues boss Dai Young.

"I've been pleased with our away form this season. We've recorded good wins against Munster and the Dragons on the road and will be aiming to keep up that kind of performance this Friday."

Dai Flanagan continues at fly-half in the absence of Nicky Robinson and Nick McLoed, both who are still injured, and will be joined at half-back by Jason Spice. With Tom Shanklin away on international duty Dafydd Hewitt returns at inside centre.

Mark Lewis and Scott Morgan come into the back row at number eight and six respectively, whilst Martyn Williams continues at open-side, with Robin Sowden-Taylor on Welsh duty.

"We know it won't be easy. Glasgow are a very strong side with a good home record, and we lost up there when we played them last season," added Young.

"They're a well coached outfit and a difficult team to break down. As I said before we played them at home in September, I thought they were one of the best teams in the Magners League last year and had a big bearing on where the trophy ended up.

"Having said that we recorded a good win over them earlier in the season, but know we must improve on our performance against Harlequins if we are to get anything out of the game.

"We've had to make a lot of changes this week due to six players being in the Wales squad. We've also have four very physical matches against English teams and some of our players are carrying bumps and bruises."

Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors wing Hefin O'Hare has been given another opportunity to impress this weekend as he is once again selected in the starting XV.

With electrifying performances off the bench and a try-scoring outing last Friday in the Heineken Cup against Viadana, O'Hare is given the nod ahead of new Samoan winger Lome Fa'atau who drops out of the 22 altogether.

Elsewhere in the back-line, Andrew Henderson and Daryl Gibson return in the centres whilst Thom Evans is re-instated on the left wing having recovered from injury.

The only change in the forwards sees the only member of the Warriors' squad to have lifted both the Celtic League (now Magners League) trophy and the Heineken Cup, Andy Newman, back into the fray.

Form: Glasgow Warriors are undefeated at home since their return to Firhill in the summer, they have in fact not lost at home since an 8-19 reversal to Ulster at Hughenden on 6 January. Cardiff Blues, who are flying high at the top of the Magners League and their European Cup pool, have lost just once in their last six matches in all competitions. The Blues' only defeat to a Scottish side in their last dozen such encounters was 3-22 in this equivalent fixture in January. Glasgow have won just one of their last five matches against Cardiff Blues.

Glasgow: 15 Bernardo Stortoni, 14 Hefin O'Hare, 13 Andrew Henderson, 12 Daryl Gibson, 11 Thom Evans, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Chris O'Young, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 John Barclay, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Alastair Kellock (c), 4 Andy Newman, 3 Moray Low, 2 Fergus Thomson, 1 Justin Va'a.

Replacements: 16 Eric Milligan, 17 Ed Kalman, 18 Opeta Palepoi, 19 James Eddie, 20 Sam Pinder, 21 Scott Barrow, 22 Graeme Morrison.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Ben Blair, 14 Rhys Williams, 13 Tal Selley, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Gareth Thomas, 10 Dai Flanagan, 9 Jason Spice, 8 Mark Lewis, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Scott Morgan, 5 Robert Sidoli, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Gary Powell, 2 Gareth Williams, 1 John Yapp.

Replacements: 16 Taufa'ao Filise, 17 Ross Johnson, 18 Deiniol Jones, 19 Mama Molitika, 20 Darren Allinson, 21 Ryan Howells, 22 Ben White.

Date: Friday, 23 November

Kick-off: 19:30 GMT

Venue: Firhill

Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)

Touch judges: Peter Allan (Scotland), Graeme Marshall (Scotland)

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