Cardiff Blues v Edinburgh | Guinness Pro14 | Saturday 5th October 2019
Cardiff Blues: W
It was a bonus point winning start for both teams last weekend as Cardiff Blues comeback to beat Southern Kings 27-31 in Port Elizabeth, while Edinburgh secured a comfortable 50-15 victory over Zebre at Murrayfield.
This weekend will be a new kettle of fish for both teams though as Cardiff Blues face Northern Hemisphere opposition for the first time this season, and Edinburgh will be up for a first proper test after taking on a severely weakened Zebre outfit.
Edinburgh 17-19 Cardiff Blues - 23/02/2019
Edinburgh 6-20 Cardiff Blues - 30/03/2018
Cardiff Blues 10-20 Edinburgh - 01/09/2017
Edinburgh 17-18 Cardiff Blues - 24/02/2017
Cardiff Blues 34-16 Edinburgh - 03/09/2016
In recent years Cardiff Blues have enjoyed plenty of success against Edinburgh, winning seven of our last eight games against the men of the Scottish capital.
The most recent came at Murrayfield in February, when a superb second half comeback secured four points for Cardiff Blues, while a notable game was the 6-20 win in the European Challenge Cup quarter-final as we marched towards victory in Bilbao.
Both teams make one change to their starting XVs that secured the wins last week as Cardiff Blues welcome Wales international Owen Lane back on the wing after being kept out by a knock last week.
Elsewhere Nick Williams and Rory Thornton are both fit to play after picking up arm and head injuries respectively against Southern Kings.
Edinburgh’s change comes up front where a former Southern Kings player, hooker Mike Willemse, replaces Dave Cherry in the front row.
Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan, Owen Lane, Garyn Smith, Willis Halaholo, Aled Summerhill, Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams, Brad Thyer, Liam Belcher, Dmitri Arhip, Seb Davies, Rory Thornton, Josh Turnbull, Olly Robinson, Nick Williams (c)
Replacements: Kris Dacey, Corey Domachowski, Scott Andrews, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Will Boyde, Lewis Jones, Jason Tovey, Harri Millard
Edinburgh: Damien Hoyland, Jamie Farndale, Mark Bennett, Matt Scott, Duhan van der Merwe, Jaco van der Walt, Nic Groom (c); Pierre Schoeman, Mike Willemse, Pietro Ceccarelli, Fraser McKenzie, Murray Douglas, Lewis Carmichael, Luke Crosbie, Nick Haining
Replacements: Cameron Fenton, Jamie Bhatti, Murray McCallum, Mesu Kunavula, Ally Miller, Charlie Shiel, Simon Hickey, George Taylor
Player to watch
Edinburgh have managed to hold on to much of their first choice back line during the Rugby World Cup period, with the likes of Jaco van der Walt and Duhan van der Merwe important players to Richard Cockerill’s side.
However, the key man last week in that back line was Mark Bennett. Having broken in to the Scotland squad at a young age the centre switched to Edinburgh in 2017 but hadn’t set Murrayfield alight until scoring a hat-trick last week. Whether he can build on that form at the Arms Park will be something to keep an eye on.
What the coaches said
“It’s brilliant to get Laney back on the pitch at Cardiff Arms Park. We have some really good strength in depth in the back three but he has trained really well since coming back in and we are looking forward to seeing him out there.
“It is also a boost to have Nick available. His arm injury wasn’t as bad as we feared, and he will bring his usual physical presence and leadership.”
“We were delighted with last week’s result but there’s plenty to work on and we know Edinburgh will provide our toughest challenge yet. They enjoyed a big win over Zebre and will be well-prepared, physical and dangerous in attack, but we are at the Arms Park, in front of our home crowd and are relishing the challenge.
“We are determined to back last week up with another win and hope to see a much more complete performance.”
John Mulvihill – Cardiff Blues Head Coach
“We were clearly motivated against Zebre. We have worked hard at our fitness and we are trying to play a bit differently this year. Hopefully people will start to see us being a bit more threatening with ball in hand.
“This weekend is about getting our preparations right. We started the 2017/18 season there and won. Our first year together as group we were very good away from home, but last year we had a habit of losing those matches by very close margins.
“Cardiff aren’t missing as many guys as we are and they will probably be thinking they can get off to a good start in the competition. We know their threats and they are a good team – but we’re a good team as well and we’re going there to win.
“If we get it right and play as well as I know we can, we’ll definitely give ourselves an opportunity to do that.”
Richard Cockerill – Edinburgh Head Coach
Irish official Frank Murphy has the whistle today, having previously been on the field as a scrum-half with Munster, Connacht and Leicester, as well as receiving Ireland A and U21 honours.
He has refereed seven Cardiff Blues games in his career so far, with five resulting in wins including that comeback victory over Edinburgh at Murrayfield last season.