Cardiff Blues v Munster | Guinness Pro14 | Saturday 2nd November 2019
Cardiff Blues: WLLL
On paper Munster have had a solid start to the season, beating Ospreys and Dragons at home, and Southern Kings away, but falling to Cheetahs.
They haven’t really hit top gear yet though, and with Cardiff Blues having failed to properly perform in the last three games the winner here may well be who finds their feet first.
Munster 45-21 Cardiff Blues – 05/04/2019
Cardiff Blues 37-13 Munster – 21/09/2018
Cardiff Blues 25-18 Munster – 17/02/2018
Munster 39-16 Cardiff Blues – 30/09/2017
Cardiff Blues 13-23 Munster – 04/03/2017
Recent history have seen Cardiff Blues and Munster fairly even when it comes to Guinness Pro14, with the only real theme being that the last four games between the sides have been won by the home team.
There are three changes to the Cardiff Blues team with the notable addition being Rey Lee-Lo who returns to the side after playing at the Rugby World Cup with Samoa. The other changes see Shane Lewis-Hughes make his first start of the season, and Corey Domachowski start for the first time in almost two years.
Munster, on the other hand, make 11 changes to the team that beat Ospreys last week, with only Shane Daly, Calvin Nash, Dan Goggin and Jack O’Donoghue retaining their places. Chris Cloete and Alex Wootton return from injury, while Academy prop Keynan Knox makes his first ever start.
Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan, Jason Harries, Rey Lee-Lo, Garyn Smith, Aled Summerhill, Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams (c); Corey Domachowski, Liam Belcher, Scott Andrews, Josh Turnbull, Rory Thornton, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Olly Robinson, Will Boyde
Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Brad Thyer, Keiron Assiratti, Seb Davies, Nick Williams, Lewis Jones, Jason Tovey, Willis Halaholo
Munster: Shane Daly, Calvin Nash, Sammy Arnold, Dan Goggin, Alex Wootton, JJ Hanrahan, Alby Mathewson; Jeremy Loughman, Kevin O’Byrne, Keynan Knox, Fineen Wycherley, Darren O’Shea, Jack O’Donoghue (c), Chris Cloete, Arno Botha
Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Liam O’Connor, Stephen Archer, Jed Holloway, Conor Oliver, Nick McCarthy, Tyler Bleyendaal, Rory Scannell
Player to watch
Young second row Fineen Wycherley properly came to the attention of the rugby world last season during a heated head-to-head with Johnny Sexton during the Munster v Leinster clash at Thomond Park.
Refusing to take a backwards step there typifies his approach to the game, whether at lock or blindside flanker. The 21-year-old will be a thorn in the side of the Cardiff Blues pack throughout Saturday’s game, at the set piece and during open play.
What the coach said
“It is great to welcome Rey back, he is such an important player for us. He will bring a physical presence, real go forward and leadership in the back-line
“Corey and Shane are also progressing well and deserve opportunities to start as we freshen up the starting line-up, but we expect big impacts from Willis, Nick and Brad Thyer coming on.”
“We have had a really good week in training, and I am sure there will be a reaction from our boys who are back on their home patch. We have all been disappointed with our recent results, and elements of our performance, in the last few weeks and we are determined to put that right and repay our supporters.
“It is imperative that we start well and stay in the fight. We were in a similar position against Munster last season and we produced one of our best performances of the season and that is exactly what we need on Saturday.”
John Mulvihill – Cardiff Blues Head Coach
South African referee Stuart Berry takes charge of this one, just a week after he officiated Munster’s win over Ospreys in Cork.
This will be his third time refereeing Cardiff Blues, with the only win so far coming on his only visit to the Arms Park for this fixture in February 2018. Overall he has a 75% home win record.