Cardiff Blues 37 - 21 Bristol Bears
Sat 21 January 15:00 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 7,223 Ref: Mike Adamson European Challenge Cup

Preview: Cardiff Blues v Bristol Rugby

Fri 20 Jan 2017 16:40 Preview: Cardiff Blues v Bristol Rugby
Danny Wilson’s men are currently second in Pool Four, one-point behind Bath, who host Section Paloise at the Rec.

For the Blues the equation is simple, win and they are in the last eight. 

Wilson has made nine changes to the side that snatched a last-gasp victory over Section Paloise, with five first team players providing a major fitness boost.

Rhys Gill, Kristian Dacey, Nick Williams, Gareth Anscombe and Rey Lee-Lo have all recovered from injury to take their place in the starting XV.

They are joined by Anton Peikrishvili, Lloyd Williams and Alex  Cuthbert, who were on the bench in France, as well as USA wing Blaine Scully, who was unavailable.

The Blues have already downed Bristol twice this season, first a 25-24 triumph in pre-season and then a comfortable 33-20 win in the Challenge Cup.

What they said

Danny Wilson said:
“Up until last week we had 18 players unavailable so to get five key players back fit is a big boost ahead of an important game.
“If we win then we make a quarter-final and that’s a great achievement for us at the moment. Last season we didn’t get close to that so in this competition it’s a big improvement.
“We’ve won four out of five games and we’ve now got the opportunity against Bristol to secure a quarter-final.

“There’s still a few permutations that can play out but we have to get away from that. We need to focus on one thing and one thing only and that’s a home win. We need a home win to make the quarter-finals
“In the league Bristol have certainly had a turnaround in terms of performances. They’ve run a lot of teams very close and they’ve picked up a couple of wins.
“If they make changes they will be picking hungry players, which is a danger in itself, or they may ask those players (that lost to Bath) to back up and put in a performance. Either way it will be a tough game for us.
“They have shown some big improvement, especially in defence and they have a lot of threats in attack.”

Blaine Scully said: “We are really excited for the challenge on Saturday and this is definitely an opportunity for us and we want to start achieving.

“This is a business of results, this would be a result and something we’re targeting. Now, for us, is to ensure we put in the performance which would drive that result.

“The focus for us is Bristol, and nothing else matters. It is the most important game for us in our European season.”

 “Bristol have definitely grown into the season and they will be a test for us. It will be a hungry team, whoever they pick to play, and so we’ll have to be on our best in order to compete.”

Steve Shingler said: “We feel if we get our roles, responsibilities and performance right then the result will take care of itself.

“As a player you want to be in the big games and as a club you want to play for silverware. Hopefully this weekend we can give ourselves the chance to do that but we have to take it one game at a time. 

“It’s all or nothing but a win on the weekend would make it exciting.”


Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Alex Cuthbert, Rey Lee-Lo, Steven Shingler, Blaine Scully; Gareth Anscombe, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Gill, Kristian Dacey, Anton Peikrishvili, Jarrad Hoeata, Macauley Cook, Josh Navidi, Sam Warburton (capt), Nick Williams

Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Corey Domachowski, Scott Andrews, James Down, Seb Davies, Tomos Williams, Garyn Smith, Rhun Williams.

Bristol: Luke Arscott; Jordan Williams, Jack Tovey, Tusi Pisi, David Lemi; Adrian Jarvis, Andy Uren; Jack O'Connell, Rob Hawkins, Gaston Cortes, Joe Joyce, Giorgi Nemsadze, Nick Koster, Jack Lam (c), James Phillips.

Replacements: Max Crumpton, Kyle Traynor, Jamal Ford-Robinson, Ian Evans, Nick Fenton-Wells, Martin Roberts, Thretton Palamo, Jack Wallace.