Munster 6 - 17 Cardiff Blues
Sat 05 January 19:30 Irish Independent Park Att: 8,874 Ref: Nigel Owens Pro12

Cardiff Blues announce squad to face Munster

Fri 4 Jan 2013 11:33 Cardiff Blues announce squad to face Munster
Roberts returns and starts at centre having recovered from an elbow injury picked up in the loss to Australia, while Leigh Halfpenny has a place on the bench having also recovered from a neck/shoulder injury picked up in the same match.

Roberts forms a new centre partnership joining Richard Smith who is set to make his Blues starting debut. The strong running centre is a regular for Wales Sevens, having got his first taste of Sevens during the summer of 2011, where he played for Wales in three of the four legs of the FIRA series - in Bucharest, Barcelona and Moscow. He has previously played for Neath RFC in 2009/10 before spending a season in Australia playing for Brisbane Bulldogs.

There is also a new face on the bench with twenty-two-year-old Romanian prop forward Petru Tamba set to make his Blues debut. Tamba made his Romania debut against Japan in Bucharest last November and also faced the USA the same month.

Scrum half Alex Walker retains his place on the bench from the Dragons victory. The former Wales Under 18 and 19’s scrum half started his career with Newport Youth, Newport Gwent Dragons U20, and was part of the Dragons Junior Academy.

He gained his senior academy contract with the region at the start of the 2005–2006 season, making one replacement appearance for the region. Walker was an ever-present Dragons team member during the 2006–2007 season.

Like fellow debutant Richard Smith, Walker was named as one of Wales's 'core' contracted players for the 2011/12 IRB World Sevens Series.

Speaking ahead of the match Blues Back Coach Gareth Baber said,

“We go back into European competition in a week or so and going to Musgrave Park is as good as going to another European destination.

“We want to put a performance in that builds on what we’ve done over the festive period and progresses us towards where we want to be going.

“The squad has shown what they are capable of and we want to make sure that they are on top of their game when we face Munster.”

Munster v Cardiff Blues
Musgrave Park, Saturday 5 January, 7.30pm Live on S4C

15 Jason Tovey 14 Owen Williams 13 Richard Smith 12 Jamie Roberts 11 Harry Robinson 10 Rhys Patchell 9 Lewis Jones

8 Robin Copeland 7 Sam Warburton 6 Josh Navidi (c) 5 Lou Reed 4 Bradley Davies 3 Benoit Bourrust 2 Rhys Williams 1 Sam Hobbs

16 Kritian Dacey 17 Paetru Tamba 18 Scott Andrews 19 James Down 20 Luke Hamilton 21 Alex Walker 22 Ceri Sweeney 23 Leigh Halfpenny

Not available for selection:

Gavin Evans - Back problem

Cuthbert - Facial injury (stitches in mouth)

Fau Filise - Hamstring injury return late January

Andi Kyriacou - Neck operation return in April

Andries Pretorius - Shoulder
Michael Paterson - Fractured little finger against Ospreys. Return late January.
Chris Czeckaj - Foot ligament injury. Return late January

Dan Fish - Suffered shoulder nerve palsy in match against Zebre. Return late January

Tom James - Fractured sesamoid (big toe). Surgery to remove pin on Wednesday 5th December, return late January

Jake Cooper–Woolley - right knee ACL injury 4 months
Tom Davies - ACL knee reconstruction this week 4 months