Cardiff Blues 54 - 22 Pau
Sat 07 December 19:45 Cardiff Arms Park Att: 4,668 Ref: Andrea Piardi European Challenge Cup

Preview: Cardiff Blues v Pau

Fri 6 Dec 2019 14:25 Preview: Cardiff Blues v Pau

Cardiff Blues welcome Top 14 outfit, Section Paloise, to the Welsh capital for a crucial Challenge Cup clash.

Both sides head into the fixture after picking up a win each - against Calvisano - in the opening two rounds of European action, and will be looking to keep their quarter final hopes alive.

John Mulvihill has welcomed a number of Welsh internationals - including debutant Josh Adams, who was the top try scorer at the recent Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Centre Rey Lee-Lo will also make his 100th appearance for the region while, on the opposite end of the scale, his partner and academy graduate, Ben Thomas, will make his first senior appearance.

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Owen Lane, Rey Lee-Lo, Ben Thomas, Josh Adams; Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Rhys Gill, Kirby Myhill, Scott Andrews, James Ratti, Josh Turnbull, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Olly Robinson, Will Boyde (capt).

Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Corey Domachowski, Keiron Assiratti, Macauley Cook, Alun Lawrence, Lloyd Williams, Jason Tovey, Hallam Amos

Section Paloise: Charly Malié; Bastien Pourailly, Pierre Nueno, Florian Nicot, Atila Septar; Tom Taylor, Clovis Le Bail; Geoffrey Moïse, Lucas Rey (capt), Lourens Adriaanse, Julien Delannoy, Denis Marchois, Baptiste Pesenti, Giovanni Habel-Kuffner, Antoine Erbani

Replacements: Rayne Barka, Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, Mohamed Boughanmi, Gabriel Souverbie, Daniel Ramsay, Samuel Marques, Thibault Debaes, Vincent Pinto

From the Vault: Cardiff Blues 16 Section Paloise (2018)

It was an unforgettable evening in the Welsh capital as Cardiff Blues and Pau went head-to-head, with a place in the Challenge Cup final in Bilbao up for grabs.

The conditions were perfect as Danny Wilson's side flew out of the blocks to claim the game's first try after only five minutes of action. Jarrod Evans' long pass was perfect for Seb Davies to steamroll his way downfield.

The lock showed plenty of composure to time his pass, leaving Gareth Anscombe with the simple task of touching down in the corner.

Pau struck back as All Blacks legend, Conrad Smith, took advantage of a charge down on Anscombe to dot down under the sticks.

It became a gruesome and physical battle with the likes of Josh Navidi, Owen Lane and Rey Lee-Lo putting their bodies on the lines, while Ellis Jenkins and Olly Robinson controlled the breakdown, winning crucial penalties.

Evans kept the scoreboard ticking for his side, and kicked the ball dead to book his side a ticket to the Basque Country.

Head-to-Head: Matthew Morgan v Charly Malié

Two international players go head-to-head at full back this week.

Matthew Morgan has, arguably, enjoyed his finest run of form since joining Cardiff Blues. He's been one of the stand-out stars in the opening weeks of the campaign, dotting down for two tries and being his usual menace in attack.

'Nipper' has also been crucial in defence, racking up several try-scoring tackles to keep his side in games.

Charly Malié is a Spanish international, who featured in the 2018 semi final between these sides, and is another threat from counter attacks.