Exeter Chiefs 62 - 25 Cardiff Blues
Sun 13 November 15:00 Sandy Park Att: 9,595 Ref: Luke Pearce Anglo Welsh Cup

Match Preview: Exeter Chiefs v Cardiff Blues

Fri 11 Nov 2016 15:54 Match Preview: Exeter Chiefs v Cardiff Blues
Elite Performance Pathway Manager, Richard Hodges, will take charge of the team for the clash and has named a youthful side containing 13 Cardiff Blues age grade products in the starting line-up.
Centre Garyn Smith will captain the side, while experience will come in the form of Kirby Myhill and James Down.
Three players – James Beal, Dane Blacker and Jack Davies – will make their senior debuts for the region with seven more, including new signing Anton Peikrishvili, set for the honour from the bench.
With Lloyd Williams and Tomos Williams on international duty and Lewis Jones sidelined, the Blues have also registered Llandovery’s scrum-half, Rhodri Davies, who has enjoyed involvement with Wales Sevens and will appear on the bench.
Meanwhile, Exeter Chiefs kicked off their campaign last week with a 29-15 defeat to Harlequins and will be determined to bounce back on home soil.
England international Tom Johnson has been named captain for the home side, with further experienced players such as Damian Welch, Phil Dollman and Michele Campagnaro also featuring in the starting line-up.
Former Cardiff Blues flanker, Ben White, starts the game alongside Johnson in the back-row, while Ian Whitten, capped twice by Ireland, appears on the wing.
What they said
Richard Hodges reckons the Anglo-Welsh Cup is a golden opportunity for Cardiff Blues’ most promising youngsters to gain valuable experience and make a stake for future first-team appearances.
The former Wales Sevens assistant coach is expecting a tough encounter during Sunday's opening clash against Exeter Chiefs, but is relishing the potential of facing experienced opposition at Sandy Park.
"It's live on BT Sport, it's going to be tough at times and as coaches we understand that," said Hodges.
"A lot of the players are experiencing their first ever professional players week in the build-up, so have to their schedules with their school and college commitments.
"Top Tier One academy players such as Harri Millard and Shane Lewis-Huges are boys who have made names for themselves on the international age grade circuit, but many of them will be making their first team debuts this weekend.
"What you will get from this group of boys is a shedload of energy and enthusiasm come Sunday afternoon, and it will be good to see how they go."
Working closely with Cardiff Blues' young players, as well as within the Wales U20's set-up, Hodges views the Anglo-Welsh Cup as an important step in a player's development, also giving senior coaches an opportunity to assess the success of their pathway programme.
"We want to make sure, at the end of this Anglo-Welsh campaign, that we are more informed and educated about the youngsters coming through our pathway.
"We expect and acceptable level of performance during these games so we can decide who really is going to go on and maybe play 50 times for this region. Some of them will, and some of them unfortunately won't. Those are decisions that this competition allows us to make."
Cardiff Blues tasted success in the Anglo-Welsh Cup back in 2009, with a 50-12 victory over Gloucester at Twickenham.
The victorious side consisted of young players, who would become key players for both region and country within a few months, such as Jamie Roberts and Leigh Halfpenny.
Hodges has cited the victory as an inspiration to his young group of players ahead of this weekend's opening clash.
"Billy Millard (Rugby General Manager), spoke to the group yesterday about when we won this competition a few years back at Twickenham.
"They started that campaign with a very young group but then that developed into a first team group by the time they went to the final, and won by 50-odd points."

Cardiff Blues: Rhun Williams; Aled Summerhill, Harri Millard, Garyn Smith (C), James Beal; Jarrod Evans, Dane Blacker; Brad Thyer, Kirby Myhill, Dillon Lewis, Jack Davies, James Down, Seb Davies, Shane Lewis-Hughes, James Sheekey
Replacements: Liam Belcher, Rhys Carre, Anton Peikrishvili, Hemi Barnes, Morgan Sienawski, Rhodri Davies, Ben Jones, Owen Lane
Exeter Chiefs: Phil Dollman; Max Bodilly, Michele Campagnaro, Tom Hendrickson, Ian Whitten; Joe Simmonds, Will Chudley; Billy Keast, Shaun Malton, Jack Owlett, Ollie Atkins, Damian Welch, Ben White, Sam Simmonds, Tom Johnson (C)
Replacements: Jack Innard, Will Norton, Marcus Street, Josh Caulfield, Tom Lawday, Stuart Townsend, Harvey Skinner, Harry Strong
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Matthew O’Grady, Clare Daniels
TMO: Geoff Warren