CARDIFF BLUES SIDE TO FACE SCARLETS :: 19 Apr 15:05

Phil Davies names side for Derby match

Cardiff Blues have a further boost to the match day squad as Bradley Davies returns from injury

The Blues and Welsh international lock will return to strengthen the Cardiff Blues bench at this Saturday’s match against the Scarlets, 6:30pm kick off. Davies obtained an ankle ligament injury back in early January and is looking forward to returning to the field this weekend at Parc Y Scarlets.

Speaking ahead of the match Bradley Davies said,

“I’m refreshed. I’m as fit as I have ever been and looking forward to getting back playing.”

“It’s going to be a tough challenge but that will bring the best out of us.”

Phil Davies has made three changes to the starting 15 that helped Cardiff Blues end a four game losing streak with a 28-13 victory over Zebre last weekend at the Arms Park. Josh Navidi returns to a starting position and is paired with Warburton in the back row while Michael Paterson moves to number 8. The other change sees Kristian Dacey start in the front row in place of Marc Breeze who moves to the bench.

Speaking about the Blues victory, Director of rugby, Phil Davies said,

“I was quite pleased with lots of things that we tried to do in the game. We had good control; it was a good win for us and will help us to keep the momentum going towards the end of season.”

“It has been a season of change! When you put it into perceptive last season we had an average age of 32 and now we have an average of around 23. Last season only 19 of the squad played over 1000 minutes while this season 29 of the squad have played over that.”

“We have moved in the right direction. We have lost a lot of games by a score but the experience we have gained this year will be invaluable as we move forward.”

This weekend the Blues will take on a Scarlets side whose only defeat in their last eight matches, in all competitions, was against Leinster in Dublin. Saturday’s Welsh derby looks set to be a tough game as the home team look to gain a bonus point to allow them to knock the Osprey out of the top four for a place in the play offs.

The Scarlets have won their last seven encounters with the Blues in all competitions. Looking ahead to the match Phil Davies said,

“The Scarlets are further down the development track than we are and that shows. I thought their performance last week against Glasgow was possibly the best they have put in all year. They put a very good Glasgow team under pressure at the set piece and around the breakdown.”

“They are playing very well, they have a lot of variety and more importantly they have a lot of control, this gives them the opportunities to push into the top four.”

“Approaching these last three games, our aims were to make sure we qualified for the Heineken Cup, which we have done and to make sure we go into the last part of the season building some momentum through solid performances. This would allow the players who are leaving to go off on a high and the players who are potentially going off for international tours to put their hand up for selection.”

“I have been back to Parc Y Scarlets a few times now, it’s always a passionate place to play rugby and we will certainly have some of that about us on the weekend.”

“We want to go there perform well and win the game ourselves. We want to move the ball around and score some tries, hopefully it will be an entertaining game.”

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny 14 Owen Williams 13 Gavin Evans © 12 Jamie Roberts 11 Harry Robinson 10 Rhys Patchell 9 Lewis Jones

8 Michael Paterson 7 Sam Warburton 6 Josh Navidi 5 Lou Reed 4 Filo Paulo 3 Scott Andrews 2 Kristian Dacey 1Taufa’ao Filise

16 Marc Breeze 17 Thomas Davies 18 Benoit Bourrust 19 Bradley Davies 20 Luke Hamilton 21 Alex Walker 22 Ceri Sweeney 23 Dafydd Hewitt