Cardiff Blues 37 - 8 Zebre
Sat 04 November 19:35 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 5,381 Ref: Sean Gallagher Guinness Pro14

Preview: Cardiff Blues v Zebre

Fri 3 Nov 2017 13:24 Preview: Cardiff Blues v Zebre
A win would see the Blues leapfrog their opponents in Conference A, where they could jump as high as fourth place.

Danny Wilson’s side have won four out of their last six fixtures, including back-to-back bonus points in their last two home games, against Dragons and Lyon.

Following this weekend’s action, Cardiff Blues’ attention turns to the Anglo-Welsh Cup, where they will face Newcastle Falcons and Ospreys.

Captain Gethin Jenkins returns to the squad for the first time since last season’s Judgement Day victory over Ospreys, and lines-up along Matthew Rees and Taufa’ao Filise in the front row. 

Further changes are made in the pack, with Macauley Cook and Damian Welch combining at second row, while Josh Turnbull replaces Wales call-up Josh Navidi in the number six jersey.

Lloyd Williams and Steven Shingler line-up at half-back for the first time since the away win against Connacht in round four. 

Aled Summerhill, who scored in this fixture last season, and Garyn Smith are also reintroduced to the backline.

Amongst the replacements, George Earle and Tom James return from injuries, while young outside half, Ben Jones, could make his first appearance of the season if called upon from the bench.

Zebre currently sit fifth in Conference A, having picked up victories against Southern Kings and Ulster, while they missed out by a single point against Edinburgh and Cheetahs in their last two Guinness PRO14 fixtures.

Italian international centre, Tommaso Castello, captains Zebre for the trip to the Welsh capital, and is partnered by fellow Azzurri, Mattia Bellini.

Eight players involved in the matchday squad are set to link-up with the Italian national side for their autumn tests against Fiji, Argentina and South Africa, including outside half Carlo Canna, who is third on the PRO14’s top point scorers list this season.

What They Said

Josh Turnbull has urged Cardiff Blues supporters to make the difference on Saturday, and insists his side are determined to bounce back from last week’s defeat to Scarlets.

"It's a massive one for us, especially when we get a good turn-out at the Arms Park - they're the 16th man," said Turnbull.

"We want to go out and finish this first block with a bang. We had a couple of good performances in Europe, but a little bit disappointed against Scarlets and we want to put thing right this weekend.

"From what we've seen in analysis, Zebre have come to play this season. Teams have kicked long to them and they've kept the ball for a long time and gone through the phases, and we'll have to be patient with that.

"We need to bring line speed, take it get into their faces and be confrontational, and that will happen because they want to play from deep.

"We spoke as a group on Tuesday that we didn't turn up phyiscally against Scarlets last week.

"Defensively, we got outdone a couple of times by things that haven't happened to us many times this season, like people driving through us in the scrum and conceding driving line-out tries, so to concede that is disappointing. 

"As professional rugby players we have to put that right, move on to this weekend to a big fixture at the Cardiff Arms Park against Zebre.”
Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Aled Summerhill, Garyn Smith, Willis Halaholo, Blaine Scully; Steve Shingler, Lloyd Williams; Gethin Jenkins (c), Matthew Rees, Taufa’ao Filise, Macauley Cook, Damian Welch, Josh Turnbull, Ollie Robinson, Nick Williams.
Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Corey Domachowski, Keiron Assiratti, George Earle, Sion Bennett, Tomos Williams, Ben Jones, Tom James

Zebre: Matteo Minozzi; Giulio Bisegni, Mattia Bellini, Tommaso Castello (c), Gabriele Di Giulio; Carlo Canna, Marcello Violi; Sami Panico, Oliviero Fabiani, Eduardo Bello, Leonard Krumow, Valerio Bernabò, Giovanni Licata, Johan Meyer, Derick Minnie

Replacements: Luhandre Luus, Andrea De Marchi, Dario Chistolini, Jacopo Sarto, Renato Giammarioli, Guglielmo Palazzani, Serafin Bordoli, Ciaran Gaffney