Cardiff Blues 13 - 23 Munster
Sat 04 March 17:15 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 6,546 Ref: Mike Adamson Guinness Pro12

Preview: Cardiff Blues v Munster Rugby

Fri 3 Mar 2017 14:44 Preview: Cardiff Blues v Munster Rugby
The Blues claimed a 24-23 scalp over the Red Army at Irish Independent Park in September, and Danny Wilson’s side will aim for a repeat performance in the reverse fixture this weekend.

Wilson has made four changes to the side that defeated Edinburgh at Myreside last weekend.

Two of the changes are made in the front-row, with 20-year-old prop, Corey Domachowski, and experienced hooker Matthew Rees coming into the starting line-up, replacing Rhys Gill and Kristian Dacey respectively.

Josh Navidi makes a return from injury to take his place on the openside, with Sion Bennett dropping to the bench, while Aled Summerhill makes his first PRO12 start of the season, as Alex Cuthbert is unavailable due to international commitments.

Munster will go into the clash looking to bounce back from last week’s 30-21 defeat to Scarlets, their first championship defeat at Thomond Park this season, which put a halt to their 9-game winning streak.

Former BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park favourite Robin Copeland returns from a thumb injury to pack down at number eight, while Darren O’Shea comes in to partner Billy Holland in the boiler room.

In the backline, Ian Keatley replaces Tyler Bleyendaal in the number 10 jersey, while Andrew Conway and Rory Scannell also return to the starting XV.

What They Said:

Head coach Danny Wilson has emphasised the importance of Saturday’s clash, as the Blues look to build up some much needed confidence heading into the latter stages of the championship.

He said: "We targeted three wins out of four games. We slipped up in the first game against Connacht at home, which has put a bit of pressure on this last one against Munster. 

"Now we really want to achieve that goal and objective to give ourselves the opportunity to be in that top six. 

"We know it's tight and tough to stay in touch with the top six but we remain motivated to finish the season in that position.

"We've dropped one or two games at home which we've been really disappointed with when compared to last season, but we've certainly improved our away record and Friday night resembled that. 

"There was a big commitment and fight from the boys, in the latter stages of what was a really tight game, to get over the line and hopefully we can carry that into a big game against Munster.”

Meanwhile, Nick Williams is expecting a Munster side looking to bounce back from last week’s home defeat, which brought their nine-game winning streak to an end.

Williams, who spent two years with Munster, is also expecting to face a strong and powerful Munster pack on Satruday.

“Any team that goes up has to come down and they will be on a low and gunning for us on Saturday afternoon. We have to be ready for that and be prepared for the big onslaught Munster can put up.
“This season Munster have gone back to what they know best which is their power game, it’s not the prettiest way to play but it’s very effective and they all buy into it.
“They definitely play with a lot of heart and there’s been big things that have happened behind the scenes, with the passing of Axel, that will pick up any team.
“They had their first home defeat since that happened, against the Scarlets last week so they will be tough.
“We always talk about their power game but you have to remember we have one of our own as well and we want to put that out on Saturday.
“The Munster’s of old have always started up front so hopefully we can negate that and go from there.”

Gareth Anscombe has called on the Cardiff Blues supporters to make home advantage count and create an intimidating atmosphere for the visitors at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.

Anscombe, who returned to action last month following a groin injury, acknowledges the challenge facing his side on Saturday, but insists the home support could make the difference when it matters.

"It's always nice to have these big games at home. We managed to get a big win against them at the start of the season away from home, but Munster are a big team to face," said Anscombe.

"They lost last week to Scarlets, and that's going to hurt them, so they're going to want to come here and get a bit of revenge for us tipping them up earlier in the season.

"It's a big game for both teams. Munster are going to want to win to cement themselves in that top four, and likewise for ourselves we have to take it week-by-week and I think we've made some big improvements in the last couple of weeks.

"It would be nice to get a big crowd here and certainly we heard them against Benetton Treviso in that second half.

"It was probably the loudest crowd I've heard at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park for a while so it would be nice to get a few more numbers, especially with a week off the Six Nations, and hopefully the weather gods will be nice to us to get a big crowd at home.”