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Blues challenge for the top

14th February 2008

Cardiff Blues return to Magners League action this weekend with a crucial top of the table tie against Leinster.

The Blues, five points behind Leinster in second place, travel to Dublin, knowing a big win could take them equal on points with the home side.

Robin Sowden Taylor, Tom James and new cap Jamie Roberts all return from the Wales squad, with James set to make his first start since his try scoring performance against Stade Francais in December.

Speaking ahead of the match Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby, David Young said, “We know how important it is for us to get a win out in Leinster. They are five points ahead of us and if we don’t get anything over in Dublin it will be difficult to close the gap on them with only seven matches remaining.”

“The players had a week off after the Bristol match and are all keen to get back on the pitch and re start our challenge in the Magners League.”

“We’ve been boosted by the return of Jamie Roberts, Tom James and Robin Sowden-Taylor from the Wales squad although Robin and Tom haven’t had much game time in the last month or so.”

Leinster won 30-19 when the two teams met at the Arms Park in September and the Blues will be looking to avenge that defeat.

“Naturally we were all disappointed with the result and the performance against Leinster in September. It was a scrappy match and our errors cost us heavily. We will have to improve on that kind of performance if we are to get anything out in Ireland.”

The Blues know they will have to be at their best to get the win at the RDS with Leinster having won their last five matches in the Magners League since a 16-all draw against Ulster at Ravenhill in October.

Leinster v Cardiff Blues Saturday 16 February 7.30pm kick off RDS Magners League

Cardiff Blues

15 Ben Blair
14 Jamie Roberts
13 Jamie Robinson
12 Gareth Thomas
11 Tom James
10 Nick Macleod
9 Jason Spice

8 Xavier Rush (c )
7 Robin Sowden Taylor
6 Maama Molitika
5 Paul Tito
4 Scott Morgan
3 Tauf’au Filise
2 Gareth Williams
1 John Yapp

16 Gary Powell
17 T Rhys Thomas
18 Ben White
19 Mark Lewis
20 Richie Rees
21 Rhys Jones
22 Tal Selley


FORWARDS (13): Cian Healy, Ollie le Roux, Ronan McCormack, Brian Blaney, Stephen Knoop, Stan Wright, Leo Cullen, Trevor Hogan, Cameron Jowitt, Stephen Keogh, Keith Gleeson, Shane Jennings, Kevin McLaughlin

BACKS (11): Chris Keane, Chris Whitaker, Felipe Contepomi, Ian Keatley, Christian Warner, Michael Berne, Luke Fitzgerald, Gary Brown, Shane Horgan, Felix Jones, Ross McCarron

REFEREE: Peter Allan (SRU), SUB REFEREE: Simon McDowell (IRFU), TOUCH JUDGE: Ger English (IRFU), TMO: Dudley Phillips (IRFU)