Dragons RFC 5 - 16 Cardiff Blues
Sat 15 September 18:30 Rodney Parade Att: 7,331 Ref: Neil Hennessy Pro12

Blues look ahead to first derby clash of the season

Thu 13 Sep 2012 22:37 Blues look ahead to first derby clash of the season
Having recorded a 13-9 win against Connacht in Galway in round one Cardiff Blues tripped up at home to Edinburgh on Friday night, going down 21 points to 19, with a late Greg Laidlaw drop goal securing victory for the Scots.

Up next for the Blues is the Dragons at Rodney Parade on Saturday night. The Blues have won just one of their last eleven games against fellow Welsh sides: 28-9 at home to the Dragons on 23 December 2011, with the last four clashes between the two teams having been won by the home side.

There are four changes in the backs with young full back Thomas Williams making his first RaboDirect start in place of the injured Leigh Halfpenny. Harry Robinson comes in for Tom James on the wing. There is a new half back combination with Rhys Patchell at outside half, making his RaboDirect debut partnering with Lloyd Williams. The Blues also welcome back Jamie Robert to the match day 23, with the big Lions centre having worked hard over the summer to recover from his knee injury.

There are two changes in the pack with Marc Breeze starting at hooker and Nathan Trevett at prop in place of Rhys Williams and Benoit Bourrust.

The Dragons have won just one of their last six RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures, however the Men from Gwent have won five of their last six matches against fellow Welsh regions at Rodney Parade with the Blues last win at the ground on 23 April 2010

Having recorded a bonus point win over Zebres in Round One the Newport Gwent Dragons suffered a reversal of fortunes with a 25-45 defeat in Leinster last weekend.

Speaking ahead of the game Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby, Phil Davies said,

“We have had a good couple of days preparation making sure we continue to improve in all areas of the game.

“We are trying to remain objective across the board and if we have learnt anything from last Friday it would be that we have to be more clinical when we get the line breaks and we have to finish off our scoring opportunities.

“Rodney Parade is a great place to go and play. It has retained its atmosphere from years ago.

“I am sure it will be good, we will have a lot of shouting and excitement down there and we are looking forward to it.

“The Dragons had a great win against the Zebres and then they went to Leinster, where even though they were defeated they played some good rugby.

“Any team that has Lydiate and Faletau playing for them, are going to be a threat.

“They are a good side all round, they have a strong front five and good half backs, they have some good pace on the wing, they are a well balanced team. They are going to be tough components for us.

Cardiff Blues

15. Thomas Williams 14. Alex Cuthbert 13. Gavin Evans 12. Dafydd Hewitt 11. Harry Robinson 10. Rhys Patchell 9. Lloyd Williams

8. Andries Pretorius (c) 7. Sam Warburton 6. Josh Navidi 5. James Down 4. Bradley Davies
3.Taufa’ao Filise 2.Marc Breeze 1.Nathan Trevett

16. Kristian Dacey 17. Thomas Davies 18.Benoit Bourrust 19. Lou Reed 20.Rory Watts-Jones 21.Lewis Jones 22. Ceri Sweeney 23. Jamie Roberts

Injury list

Jake Cooper-Woolley: ACL reconstruction on Wednesday - will start rehabilitation process next week - expected 6 months + return

Chris Czekaj - successful surgery 3 weeks ago - expected return in 3-4 months

Ryan Harford – neck surgery 10 weeks ago - expected integration into training within next few weeks

Michael Paterson - recovering from shoulder injury - return in October

Leigh Halfpenny - mid grade ankle sprain against Edinburgh, expected to return in 2 -3 weeks

Jason Tovey – returning from illness

Scott Andrews – returning from injury playing for Cardiff RFC

Sam Hobbs - injured ACLreturning to full training in October