Dragons RFC 28 - 15 Cardiff Blues
Fri 29 April 16:05 Rodney Parade Att: 5,568 Ref: James Jones Celtic League

Blues make one change in the backs for Rodney Parade match

Wed 27 Apr 2011 10:18 Blues make one change in the backs for Rodney Parade match
Fish comes in at Fullback with Chris Czekaj moving to the Wing in place of the Leigh Halfpenny who picked up and ankle injury in the win over Treviso. Halfpenny is expected to miss the remaining matches of the regular season.

There are two changes in the forwards with Michael Paterson starting at blindside in place of Ma'ama Molitika and Sam Warburton returning from injury to start at openside in place of Martyn Williams who is attending the Royal Wedding.

The Blues travel to Rodney Parade knowing that a victory would guarantee them a top four finish; deny Scarlets a Play-Off spot and end Ospreys hopes of retaining their title. Any other result would see the make up of the remaining three Play-Off places go down to the last round of games.

The Blues require a win by a margin of more than nine points and also obtain a try bonus point if they are to displace Leinster in 2nd place in the league table going into the last round of fixtures.

The Blues have lost just once on the road in the competition since December: 13-32 at Ulster on 25 February and have won their last eight clashes with Dragons since the Men from Gwent were victorious 14-13 at Rodney Parade on 27 December 2006.

Newport Gwent Dragons’ two game winning run in the Magners League came to a halt against Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Friday. Dragons have lost just one of their last seven league matches played at Rodney Parade since September: 16-26 to Leinster on 27 March.

The Dragons may no longer be able to make the Magners League Play-Offs themselves, but they hold the destiny of the other Welsh Regions in their hands, as the play both the third and fourth placed teams, Cardiff Blues and Ulster, before the end of the season, and the results of those matches will have an impact on Scarlets and Ospreys chances of claiming a top four spot.

Speaking ahead of the match, Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby, David Young, said,

“The Dragons try to play a more expansive game than maybe they have done previously but we have also got to respect the ball and not get turned over. That will be huge for us.”

“They have a tremendous attitude and really work for each other and we’ve got to match that.”

“We have to match their hunger and desire, but I believe we have the quality, which I think will be the difference. However, we can’t underestimate how important attitude is.”

“We’ve won three more games that the other teams fighting for the play off places, which is great, but we would like to win with more style.”

“The performances aren’t what I would like them to be, but we have had the results which is the most important thing.”

Cardiff Blues 15 Dan Fish 14 Chris Czekaj 13 Casey Laulala 12 Jamie Roberts 11 Tom James 10 Dan Parks 9 Richie Rees

8 Xavier Rush 7 Sam Warburton 6 Michael Paterson 5 Paul Tito (c) 4 Bradley Davies 3 Taufa’ao Filise 2 Gareth Williams 1 John Yapp

16 Rhys Williams 17 Sam Hobbs 18 Scott Andrews 19 Deiniol Jones 20 Ma’ama Molitika 21 Lloyd Williams 22 Ceri Sweeney 23 Dafydd Hewitt

The following players were not available for selection because of injury:
Andries Pretorius - Knee
Leigh Halfpenny - Ankle
Richard Mustoe - Groin
T Rhys Thomas – Hip
Ben Blair - Knee
James Down - Foot
Gethin Jenkins – Toe
Tom Davies – Calf