Cardiff Blues 13 - 19 Connacht
Sun 12 February 13:05 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 4,300 Ref: Marius Mitrea Guinness Pro12

Preview: Cardiff Blues v Connacht

Fri 10 Feb 2017 16:14 Preview: Cardiff Blues v Connacht
Wales’ Capital Region are currently six points adrift of the all-important top six of the Championship and are entering a pivotal period of the season.

During the next sequence of matches the Blues host the Irish province, Benetton Treviso and Munster as well as a trip to face Edinburgh.

Following a two-week period of Anglo-Welsh fixtures, which the Blues used to play young and fringe player, some regular faces return for Sunday.

Lloyd Williams captains the team and partners Gareth Anscombe at half-back, with Steve Shingler combining with Rey Lee-Lo in the midfield. Matthew Morgan, Rhun Williams and Blaine Scully form the back-three.

Up front, Dacey goes straight back into the starting line-up with Rhys Gill and Anton Peikrishvili the props.

Jarrad Hoeata and James Down start in the second-row while Macauley Cook, Josh Navidi and Nick Williams combine in the back-row.

Connacht triumphed 18-7 over the Blues on home soil earlier this season but have never completed a double and have triumphed just once at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.

What they said:

Head coach Danny Wilson admits the month ahead is likely to define the Blues season and is pleased to see an extensive injury list begin ease.

"We know Connacht is the start of a huge block for us - Connacht at home, Treviso at home, Edinburgh away and Munster back home during the Six Nations period.

"We have a rough idea of what we have to do to finish tin the top six. We have had a couple of blows in the league that have dented that but we're sat seventh at the moment and we have picked up some wins, which we didn't manage last season.

"It's now the start of a four game block that has the capability of defining our season.

"We are fully aware we need our best players available to us, we're starting to get some of them back and we need to improve some of the inconsistencies we've seen.

"Ultimately it's about the league, it's about the top six and the next four games will be massive.

"The ones that are least effected by the Six Nations are Connacht so we know what a tough fixture that will be - they are the league champions."

Gareth Anscombe added: “We really need to start winning. If we can grab a couple of wins, we can really shake up this table. We've got belief in the squad we can do that and I'm just happy to be back and hope I can contribute to some good team performances.

"I've got a chance now to play some consistent footy in a Cardiff Blues jersey. I'm looking forward to getting stuck in with the boys here and get a few wins. 

"If we can do that, there will be more positivity around the club, with the team going in the right direction, and hopefully we can get back up that table.

"We're obviously a few points behind but we've got a couple of big games coming up, and if we come out on the right side of that we might end up in a decent position.”