Blues team for Irish :: 05 Dec 12:11

Matthew Rees returns to captain the Blues as three of the Welsh squad return to regional duty this weekend.

Sam Warburton misses out with a slight shoulder injury, but Gethin Jenkins, Cory Allen and Alex Cuthbert all return to the starting line up for the Challenge Cup clash with London Irish tomorrow.

Director of Rugby Mark Hammett said: “We want to make home advantage count, but to do that we need to perform with passion, know our structures, patterns and ensure everyone does their job.

“Playing at home is something that we relish and I’m sure the atmosphere will inspire the team.

“I’ve been impressed by the way London Irish look to play the game and, in many ways, we are quite similar,” he added.

“When the opportunity is there, we both like to play with speed and width. We have got to be armed and ready for that style of attack and look to pressure or stop it. London Irish also have a big pack of forwards and strong driving game that we need to counter.

“In terms of team selection, it’s fantastic to welcome back our internationals and we congratulate them on a famous win against South Africa last week. These players will boost the squad and raise our game to a new level.”

Blues:
15 Adam Thomas, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Richard Smith, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Lloyd Williams;

1 Gethin Jenkins, 2 Matthew Rees ©, 3 Adam Jones, 4 Filo Paulo, 5 Josh Turnbull, 6 Macauley Cook, 7 Ellis Jenkins, 8 Josh Navidi

Replacements:
16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Rory Watts-Jones, 20 Manoa Vosawai, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Dan Fish

London Irish:
15. Andrew Fenby; 14. Alex Lewington; 13. Eoin Griffin; 12. Shane Geraghty (Captain); 11. Topsy Ojo; 10. Chris Noakes; 9. Scott Steele; 1. Tom Court; 2. David Paice; 3. Geoff Cross; 4. Sean Cox; 5. Kieran Low; 6. Jebb Sinclair; 7. Blair Cowan; 8. Ofisa Treviranus

Replacements: 16. Richard Palframan; 17. Johnny Harris; 18. Leo Halavatau; 19. Daniel Leo; 20. Luke Narraway; 21. Darren Allinson; 22. Eamonn Sheridan; 23. Tom Homer