Planet Rugby

Preview: Cardiff Blues v Glasgow

14th February 2014 07:34

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Skipper: Gethin Jenkins

Centre Isaia Tuifua will make his full league debut as Cardiff Blues tackle Glasgow Warriors in the RaboDirect Pro12 at the Arms Park.

Samoa international Tuifua, who has featured off the bench in the last two games, is called into the starting line-up and one of seven changes made by Director of Rugby Phil Davies for the clash with the high-flying Scottish outfit.

Tuifua will line up alongside the fit-again Dafydd Hewitt in midfield while there is also a recall for Richard Smith on the wing and Simon Humberstone at fly half.

Three changes in the pack include the return of prop Gethin Jenkins, who will captain the team, and back row Sam Warburton for valuable game time during the Six Nations campaign.

Tighthead prop Scott Andrews makes his first start in the front row since late October while Rory Watts-Jones is named among the replacements.

"We've had three tightly-fought games with Glasgow this season and I'm sure this clash in the RaboDirect PRO12 will be no different," said Davies.

"It's a massive game for us. Our next three fixtures with Glasgow and Leinster at the Arms Park and Zebre in Italy are vital.

"All the players are working exceptionally hard and we've some quality internationals back in the line-up that we hope will give us that extra momentum."

Meanwhile, Ed Kalman will make his 100th appearance for Glasgow Warriors when they play at the Arms Park on Saturday.

The prop has featured for the club 68 times in the RaboDirect Pro12 and has made 31 appearances in the Heineken Cup.

Gregor Townsend has selected the same side, which started in the win over Connacht on Sunday, for the trip to Wales.

The Warriors have won all six of their games on the road in the RaboDirect Pro12 this season.

Niko Matawalu starts at full-back, with Lee Jones and Rory Hughes on either wing.

Richie Vernon and Mark Bennett are in the centres, while Ruaridh Jackson continues at fly-half and Henry Pyrgos is at scrum-half.

Kalman starts at tight-head, with Gordon Reid at loose-head and Pat MacArthur at hooker. Leone Nakarawa and Tom Ryder combine in the second-row.

Rob Harley starts at blindside, Tyrone Holmes is at openside and Josh Strauss once again captains the side at number eight.

After joining the Warriors this week, new signing Folau Niua could make his debut from the bench, while Jonny Gray and Chris Cusiter have also been included amongst the replacements after being released from Scotland duty for this game.

"We travel to Cardiff with plenty of motivation given it was our two defeats to the Blues that effectively ended our Heineken Cup ambitions this season," said Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend.

"We were really disappointed with our back-to-back defeats to the Blues and we're determined to make amends this weekend.

"The Blues are a quality side and they will be looking to get back to winning ways after their defeat to Munster.

"This is the first of three consecutive games on the road for us and we know this is a crucial period of the season, ahead of a number of home games.

"I'd like to congratulate Ed (Kalman) on making his 100th appearance for the club tomorrow night. He has been ever consistent for us and is someone we know we can always rely on."

Form: Cardiff Blues only victory in their last six RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures was 21-13 at home to the Dragons on New Year's Day. The Blues have won their last three fixtures against Scottish opponents in all tournaments. Glasgow Warriors have won their last three matches in the PRO12 since their 8-23 home defeat by the Dragons on 22 November. The Warriors have won all six away games thy have played in the tournament this season. The Blues have won both their recent meetings with the Warriors, home and away in the European Cup in December; however in the PRO12 it is a different story with Glasgow taking the last fire encounters since their 15-26 defeat at Firhill in February 2011.

The teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Richard Smith, 13 Isaia Tuifua, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Simon Humberstone, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Ellis Jenkins, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Macauley Cook, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Gethin Jenkins (c)
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Patrick Palmer, 19 James Down, 20 Rory Watts-Jones, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Tom Williams

Glasgow: 15 Niko Matawalu, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Richie Vernon, 12 Mark Bennett, 11 Rory Hughes, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Henry Prygos, 8 Josh Strauss (c), 7 Tyrone Holmes, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Tom Ryder, 4 Leone Nakawara, 3 Ed Kalman, 2 Pat Macarthur, 1 Gordon Reid
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Jon Welsh, 19 Jonny Gray, 20 James Eddie, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Finn Russell, 23 Folau Niua

Date: Saturday, February 15
Kick-off: 18:30 GMT
Venue: Cardiff Arms Park
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Martyn Lewis (Wales)
Television match official: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

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