Planet Rugby

Preview: Cardiff Blues v Ospreys

13th April 2012 11:08

Share:

SKY_MOBILE John Yapp - Cardiff Blues

John Yapp: Replaces Gethin Jenkins

Cardiff Blues have made five changes to their starting line-up ahead of Saturday's PRO12 derby against the Ospreys in Cardiff.

There are three changes in the backs to the team that lost to Leinster, with Harry Robinson returning from Wales Sevens duties to start on the wing in place of Tom James, who is out with a neck injury.

Gavin Evans, who this week announced he has signed a new two-year deal with the Blues, starts at outside centre with Casey Laulala moving to the bench. Ceri Sweeney starts at fly-half with Dan Parks also moving to the bench.

There are two changes in the forwards with John Yapp replacing Gethin Jenkins who is out with a shoulder injury and Luke Hamilton, who makes his RaboDirect debut, starting at number eight instead of Xavier Rush who is out with a neck injury. There is no place for Chris Czekaj in the matchday squad.

The Blues will be looking to get back to winning ways and take on an Ospreys side that have won their last two games in the competition against Leinster and Treviso.

Cardiff Blues' back-line coach, Gareth Baber, expects a tough challenge from the Ospreys.

"This weekend's match is sure to be another heated Welsh derby with the Ospreys looking to get a win that will keep them in the top two of the RaboDirect PRO12 table," he said.

"Knowing this and the frustration from not having a long run of wins behind us has really motivated the team this week to play a good game.

"The Ospreys have a great group of players and we know it will be a tough battle.

"However, we will be looking for a big response from the Blues players."

Meanwhile, Ospreys fly-half Dan Biggar makes his 100th appearance for the region while Richard Fussell plays in his 50th match.

Despite being without the services of stalwarts like Tommy Bowe, Ashley Beck, Huw Bennett and Duncan Jones through injury coach Steve Tandy is confident that his side will do well.

"We've had a couple of good weeks and some great results with the wins in Leinster and against Treviso, but we've got to make sure we back that up on Saturday, and in the remaining games after that," he said.

"Make no mistake about it, the Blues are a good team with quality across the park and threats in every position.

"We know it's going to be a tough evening, with the extra pressures that come with derby games, but we've got to be thorough with our preparation and the attention to detail come game time has to be absolutely spot on.

"The target for us first and foremost is to make the play-offs and to do that we need to make sure our performances in these last few weeks are of the highest standard.

"We've shown signs of what we are capable of but there's still plenty of room for improvement and that's what I'm looking for.

"We want our fans to be proud of us. It's their region and we want them behind us all the way. For that to happen, we've got to continue showing the endeavour and heart we've shown in recent weeks.

"If we can do that on Saturday, we'll get our rewards, and then we can look forward to coming back to the Liberty the following Friday to a big crowd, and say farewell to Shane (Williams) in real style," added Tandy.

Form: Cardiff Blues have lost their last four games in all competitions, whilst Blues have won just one encounter with a fellow Welsh region since New Year 2011, a 28-9 over Dragons at the City Stadium. Ospreys have won their last two games in the RaboDirect PRO12 against Leinster and Treviso. Ospreys have won two of their last three away matches, but have not beaten a fellow Welsh side in their own back yard in the tournament since a trip to Scarlets in October 2010. Blues have not beaten Ospreys since New Year's Eve 2010.

The teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Luke Hamilton, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Michael Paterson, 5 James Down, 4 Bradley Davies (c), 3 Sam Hobbs, 2 Marc Breeze, 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Nathan Trevett, 18 Ryan Harford, 19 Josh Navidi, 20 Maama Molitika, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Dan Parks, 23 Casey Laulala.

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Tom Isaacs, 12 Andrew Bishop, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ryan Jones, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 James King, 20 Tom Smith, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Sonny Parker.

Date: Saturday, 14 April
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Kick-off: 18:30
Referee: George Clancy

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Heineken Cup
Saturday , April 26
Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne15:40
Sunday , April 27
Toulon vs Munster15:30
More Heineken Cup fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 26
Glasgow vs EdinburghGlasgow vs Edinburgh Preview
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs HarlequinsNorthampton vs Harlequins Preview
Sunday , April 27
Wasps vs Bath13:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs WaratahsBlues vs Waratahs Preview
Brumbies vs ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Preview
Sharks vs HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Preview
Saturday , April 26
Hurricanes vs Reds19:35
Western Force vs Bulls17:40
Cheetahs vs Stormers17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton 36 - 21 London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Report
Newcastle 18 - 23 SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Cardiff Blues 17 - 13 ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 10 - 20 Ospreys
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Biarritz 19 - 13 Brive
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
Racing Metro Paris 22 - 6 Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Grenoble 21 - 21 Bayonne
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens2080
2Northampton2071
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058