Blues make four changes for Toulon :: 11 Jan 11:22
Cardiff Blues have made four changes for their Round 5 Heineken Cup match against Toulon.
15. Leigh Halfpenny 14. Alex Cuthbert 13. Gavin Evans 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. James Down 3. Beniot Bourrust 2. Rhys Williams 1. Sam Hobbs
16. Kristian Dacey 17. Nathan Trevett 18. Scott Andrews 19. Macauley Cook 20. Luke Hamilton 21 Gareth Davies 22. Ceri Sweeney 23. Owen Williams
There are three changes in the backs with Leigh Halfpenny starting at Full Back in place of Jason Tovey. Gavin Evans has recovered from a back injury and Alex Cuthbert from a facial injury to start in the back line in place of Owen Williams and Richard Smith.
There is only one change in the forwards with James Down in instead of Bradley Davies who remains at home with his partner, who is expected to give birth to their first child over the weekend.
Speaking ahead of the match, Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby Phil Davies said,
“Over the last six weeks there have been a few key moments for me. Montpellier away, although we lost, we put some good things together and our players were clapped off the field at the end of the game, I think that was a boost for their confidence.”
“Also our performance against the Dragons saw us able to control the game and close the game out. We stole a few key line-outs and our defensive line was superb. We kept our discipline and organization to get over the line.”
“Munster was another one, you could see the players thinking their way through the game. Watching it on TV wasn’t pleasant but you could see the way they managed that game, putting into practice how to control different game scenarios, which has been a huge focal point for us this season.”
“We have a lot of experiences thrown at the young group and they have coped with it well. Now we just need to keep that game management going and fine-tune the details within the plays to become more effective.”
“Physically we are going into the Toulon match in the best shape we have been in as a group. The progress we have made from when we started back in June is quite staggering. I am confident, especially after the good results of the last few games that we are in the best place to be going out to face the Top 14 side.”
“We need to go out there and make sure we front up physically and when we have the ball we get over the gain line.”
Although the Blues cannot qualify for the quarter final of the Heineken Cup, the Round 5 and 6 matches will still have an impact on the seedings for next season.
“It goes without saying that we want to stay in the top tier but we just need to keep working hard and if we can get the results to keep us up then that’s fantastic.”
“The progression is going in the right direction and if we can keep churning out results it will bring everyone more confidence.”
“It’s a big team effort here; Gareth and Xavier did a great job at the weekend. We have been working hard all year, everything is following on and we are building a bit of momentum.”
“The longer we have been working on particular things the better we are becoming. Our tackling technique is getting better and the system itself is constantly improving. The last few games have shown the improvement but it will be a big test for us this weekend.”
“We will change a few things around for Toulon as there are a few circumstances we cannot control. It will be a challenge for us but if we can believe that we can do it then that’s half the battle.”