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Preview: Cardiff Blues v Glasgow Warriors

16th September 2017

Cardiff Blues will look to build on last week's performance against Leinster at the RDS Arena, as they prepare to welcome Glasgow Warriors to Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday (KO 7.35pm).

Despite a 37-9 loss at Dublin, Danny Wilson’s side delivered an improved performance following the home loss to Edinburgh the week before, but championship favourites, Leinster, ran away with it following three tries in the closing stages of the game.

Warriors’ visit to the Welsh capital last season saw the Blues clinch an impressive 23-19 victory, with Alex Cuthbert and Rey Lee-Lo crossing the whitewash for the home side. 

Both Cuthbert and Lee-Lo line-up against Dave Rennie’s side again this weekend, with Willis Halaholo reintroduced as the only change to the Cardiff Blues backline. Tom James, Rhun Williams, Steven Shingler and Lloyd Williams are also retained.

The returning number eight, Nick Williams, is the only change amongst the pack, replacing Macauley Cook, who is named on the bench alongside returning lock, George Earle. 

Meanwhile for Glasgow, British and Irish Lions wing, Tommy Seymour, is included in the matchday squad for the first time this season, and Henry Pyrgos comes in at scrum half to captain the side in the absence of flanker Ryan Wilson.

Tim Swinson is set to become only the second Warriors player to rack up 100 appearances, while Niko Matawalu is involved for the first time since returning to the club following spells at Bath and Exeter Chiefs.

Scottish internationals Jonny Gray and Stuart Hogg are missing through injuries.

What They Said:

Danny Wilson insists it is vital that his side put in a performance at home, and hopes to see further improvement following last week’s clash at Dublin.

“We want to perform at home no matter what game you are coming off. The important thing for us is to build on the 67 minutes we played against Leinster, which was a much improved performance,” said Wilson.

"We played poorly against Edinburgh, and got what we deserved, but for 67 minutes we were a lot better in the hardest away fixture of the season. 

"There was an improvement from Edinburgh to Leinster and I need to see an improvement again. We beat Glasgow at home last season and we will be looking to beat them at home again"

The Blues are also boosted by the timely return to fitness of George Earle, who lines up on the bench.

Several first team players remain on the sidelines but Wilson is relieved to have the second-row back in action as the injury list begins to ease. 

He added: "We have a tough set of fixtures at the start of the season and that's coincided with the nine first team injuries. They are starting to return or are getting close to a return.

"You have to take the rough with the smooth and get on with it. You have injury periods but that gives opportunity to other players and to young, developing Welsh players.”

Meanwhile, Nicky Robinson insists that the finer details Cardiff Blues' performance will be vital as they look to pick up their first win of the campaign.

"We have to look at our performances, rather than concentrating too much on the result and the win," said the 13-time Welsh international.

"If you go into every gamer thinking solely about the results, then the pressure can build up quickly. 

"We know that Glasgow are a strong outfit - they were excellent against the Ospreys last Saturday. They've got a strong squad with a new, but very experienced coach in Dave Rennie.

"It will be a big challenge and Glasgow are probably going into the game as favourites. 

"For 65 minutes against Leinster, we were still in the game with a much improved performance from the week earlier against Edinburgh.

"There were certainly positives to take from the game. We have to repeat the positive while also improving on what we weren't up to scratch on.

"We must look at those minor details in order to improve. The things that let us down in the final 10 minutes in Dublin and look to perform for the whole 80 minutes.

"Things are hard when you're losing, no doubt about that, but momentum can shift after one good performance or win. What's important to remember is that we're only two games into the season and there is a lot of time still to go.

"This week's challenge is going to be tough, like it was last week and as it will be next week, and we're expecting to face a physical side.”

Cardiff Blues: Rhun Williams; Alex Cuthbert, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Tom James; Steven Shingler, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Gill, Matthew Rees (C), Keiron Assiratti, Seb Davies, Damian Welch, Josh Turnbull, Josh Navidi, Nick Williams

Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Brad Thyer, Dillon Lewis, George Earle, Macauley Cook, Tomos Williams, Jarrod Evans, Matthew Morgan

Glasgow Warriors: Ruaridh Jackson; Tommy Seymour, Nick Grigg, Alex Dunbar, Lee Jones; Finn Russell, Henry Pyrgos (C); Jamie Bhatti, George Turner, Zander Ferguson, Tim Swinson, Scott Cummings, Matt Fagerson, Callum Gibbins, Adam Ashe
Replacements: Pat MacArthur, Alex Allan, D’Arcy Rae, Brian Alainu’uese, Chris Fusaro, George Horne, Peter Horne, Niko Matawalu