Cardiff Blues 10 - 31 Munster
Sat 23 November 18:30 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 6,122 Ref: David Wilkinson Pro12

Blues name team for Munster match

Fri 22 Nov 2013 11:50 Blues name team for Munster match
Blues make a total of five changes to the side that defeated Ospreys in the LV=Cup last week.

A new-look back row sees flankers Andries Pretorius and Josh Navidi declared fit to join forces with Number Eight Robin Copeland.

Prop Taufa’ao Filise is also recalled to the front row in the final change to the home pack.

Scrum half Lewis Jones is named among the backs, partnering fly half Simon Humberstone on his first start for the region at the Arms Park, while Tom Williams will start at full back.

Gareth Davies returns among the replacements while there could be first ever appearance for Academy scrum half Tomos Williams, with the Wales Under-18 international on the bench.

Blues remain without a number of players due to injury and international call-ups, with Bradley Davies and Cory Allen joining the injury list this week after autumn series action with Wales.

But Director of Rugby Phil Davies insists the squad are relishing the test against high-flying Munster.

“It’s a challenging time of the year with players away on international duty and injuries biting. But you have to plan well and I enjoy this time of season,” he said.

“We are giving the squad a real test. We have over 20 players unavailable to us because of injuries and call-ups, but what that does is give other people opportunities.

“The players who have been given a chance recently have really stood up and done well and we are excited about what we are trying to develop.

“Munster have changed a lot over the last year or so, but they are top of the league at this stage so you have to give them huge respect for that,” he added.

“A lot has work has gone on in recent seasons with the era that contained the likes of Ronan O’Gara, Tomas O’Leary, David Wallace and Alan Quinlan coming to an end.

“A lot of new players have come to the fore and Munster have changed their style. It is clearly suiting them because they are top of the table and playing well. It’s a big test for us at home and an exciting one as we return to league action.”

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Cardiff Blues: 15 Tom Williams, 14 Richard Smith, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Simon Humberstone, 9 Lewis Jones; 1 Sam Hobbs (c), 2 Kristian Dacey, 3 Taufa’ao Filise, 4 Macauley Cook, 5 James Down, 6 Andries Pretorius, 7 Josh Navidi, 8 Robin Copeland.

Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Benoit Bourrust, 19 Thomas Young, 20 Rory Watts-Jones, 21 Luke Hamilton, 22 Tomos Williams, 23 Gareth Davies