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Six changes for Leinster trip

7th September 2017

Cardiff Blues have made six changes to their starting line-up to take on Leinster in the Guinness PRO14 on Friday night (7.35pm).

Following a disappointing home defeat to Edinburgh, the Blues travel to Dublin with a much changed team and a determination to bounce back.

Four of the changes come in the backline with full-back Rhun Williams making a welcome return to fitness to start ahead of Matthew Morgan. 

Garyn Smith comes into the centre, Tom James, who made his 150th appearance last week, starts on the wing and Steve Shingler has been given the nod at fly-half.

There are two more, injury-forced, changes up front with Keiron Assiratti replacing Taufa’ao Filise and Macauley Cook starting on the blindside with Josh Turnbull switching to number eight.

Cardiff Blues head coach Danny Wilson admits the loss to Edinburgh was hard to take but he has called for a response at the RDS.

He said: “The Edinburgh performance didn’t look any better on Monday but hopefully it is a quick fix. We have done some pretty physical contact work this week to put it right because it’s not like us.

“A week before we were extremely physical against a big Exeter side but we didn’t see that same edge and presence against Edinburgh. That’s the disappointing thing, especially when it’s your first home game in the league

“We have dealt with it, we have moved on and I know with this group we can bounce back and there is no better challenge than away to Leinster.”

Wilson was in the stands as Leinster kicked-off their season with a commanding victory over the Dragons.

And while he admits it is a daunting challenge, he insists his side can take confidence from their performance in Dublin at the end of the season, where they slipped to an agonising one-point loss.

He added: “Their defence was extremely aggressive against the Dragons and they have increased their line-speed. 

“They were heavily competing at the breakdowns, especially in the wide channels and they obviously play a very attractive brand of rugby while also being able to overpower teams with a big pack of forwards.

“Leinster in Leinster is always a huge challenge whichever team you play but it’s one we will be motivated for.

“Last year we took them to the wire in a game which was won by one point and was arguably a game we could have nicked. 

“It’s a strong test but we will draw on the confidence from the way we performed there last season and can hopefully produce something similar.”

Cardiff Blues: R Williams, A Cuthbert, G Smith, R Lee-Lo, T James; S Shingler, L Williams; R Gill, M Rees, K Assiratti, S Davies, D Welch, M Cook, J Navidi, J Turnbull.

Replacements: K Myhill, C Domachowski, D Lewis, J Down, S Bennett, T Williams, J Evans, M Morgan.

The following players were unavailable for selection due to injury:

Taufa’ao Filise – knee
Gethin Jenkins - knee
Anton Peikrishvili - lower back
Kristian Dacey - groin
Ethan Lewis - hamstring
George Earle - heal
Ellis Jenkins - hamstring
Jim Botham - ankle
Nick Williams - concussion
Gareth Anscombe - groin
Blaine Scully - elbow
Cam Lewis - hamstring
Owen lane - groin