Cardiff Blues 62 - 3 Pataro Calvisano
Sat 18 January 13:00 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 5,822 Ref: Nikoloz Amashukeli European Challenge Cup

Preview: Cardiff Blues v Rugby Calvisano

Fri 17 Jan 2020 15:10 Preview: Cardiff Blues v Rugby Calvisano

Cardiff Blues welcome Calvisano to the Arms Park for the final round of Challenge Cup pool stage action.

John Mulvihill’s side must secure a maximum points haul and rely on other results going in their favour if they are to book their place in the final eight and keep their hunt for a third Challenge Cup title alive.

The Blues would then require favours from Leicester Tigers and London Irish, who face Pau and the Scarlets respectively, to qualify as one of the three best runners up.

Cardiff Blues hooker, Ethan Lewis, will make his 50th appearance for the region, as they make seven changes from last week's defeat to Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.

Cardiff Blues: Dan Fish; Jason Harries, Rey Lee-Lo, Garyn Smith, Aled Summerhill; Jason Tovey, Lewis Jones; Corey Domachowski, Ethan Lewis, Dillon Lewis, Filo Paulo, Seb Davies, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Olly Robinson, Nick Williams (capt.)

Replacements: Liam Belcher, Rhys Gill, Dmitri Arhip, Macauley Cook, Will Boyde, Lloyd Williams, Ben Thomas, Max Llewellyn

Calvisano: Alberto Chiesa (capt.); Kayle van Zyl, Giacomo De Santis, Damiano Mazza, Marco Susio; Nicolò Casilio, Federico Consoli; Lorenzo Michelini, Gianmarco Lucchesi, Piermaria Leso, Adam Wessels, Davide Zanetti, Alessandro Izekor, Nardo Casolari, Antoine Koffi

Replacements: Gabriele Morelli, Antonio Barducci, Lorenzo Cittadini, Angelo Maurizi, Manuel Zuliani, Fabio Semenzato, Michele Regonaschi, Jacopo Trulla

From the Vault: Cardiff Blues 74 Rugby Calvisano 6

In a similar situation to this season, Cardiff Blues' European hopes relied on targeting five points against the Italian outfit, while hoping other results fell in their favour.

The Blues certainly played their part, running in 12 tries against Calvisano to secure a thumping 74-6 win.

Cory Allen, Josh Navidi and Tom James (twice) crossed the whitewash within the opening half an hour, with Dan Fish adding a further five points to take the side into the break at 33-3.

After hooker Ethan Lewis added a sixth, and his first in Cardiff Blues colours, the region's record try scorer, James, secured his hat-trick in the second half.

There were further scores for Allen, Alex Cuthbert, Alex Summerhill, Rhys Patchell and Macauley Cook but Montpellier's win over Harlequins ensured Wales' Capital Region missed out on a ticket to the quarter final.

Head-to-Head: Nick Williams v Antoine Koffi

Big Nick Williams returns to captain his side against the Italian outfit. Having recovered from a recent hamstring injury, Williams had an impressive outing against Scarlets over the festive period.

The passionate number eight, who was nominated for Cardiff Blues Player of the Season in 2018/19, will be crucial in leading his side, and often sets the tone with his physicality and attitude in both attack and defence.

He will be up against a youngster in former Italy under-20 international, Antoine Koffi. The back row, who is instantly recognisable due to his red locks, is a strong ball carrier who has a knack for making clean breaks.