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Cardiff Blues v Scarlets: RaboDirect PRO12 match preview
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Wales lock Bradley Davies returns for the Cardiff Blues ahead of their PRO12 derby against the Scarlets at the Arms Park on Friday.
Having recovered from the concussion he suffered in the international match against New Zealand, Davies will be joined by hooker Marc Breeze in returning.
Alex Walker, the young Cardiff RFC scrum-half, has been named on the bench for the Blues and could make his regional debut.
They face a Scarlets side whose four game winning streak in the PRO12 came to a halt last time out with their 12-19 defeat to table-topping Ulster at Parc y Scarlets.
Meanwhile, the Scarlets have won their last six encounters with the Blues in all competitions, whilst they have not visited the Arms Park since May 2008.
There will be a return to action for back-row forward Josh Turnbull after he picked up a knee injury during his campaign with Wales in the autumn along with fellow Welsh international flanker Aaron Shingler.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Jason Tovey, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Andries Preotrius (c), 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 James Down, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Marc Breeze, 1 Taufa'ao Filise.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Benoit Bourrust, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Alex Walker, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Owen Williams.
Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies (capt), 12 Scott Williams, 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Kieran Murphy, 7 Aaron Shingler, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 George Earle, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Emyr Phillips, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Deacon Manu, 19 Sione Timani, 20 Johnathan Edwards, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Gareth Owen, 23 Gareth Maule.
What they said...
Cardiff Blues director of rugby Phil Davies
"We created opportunities on the field in Montpellier; there was a disallowed try, a couple of penalties and a conversation that went array. There were opportunities that we created that we didn't convert but the overall effort and commitment of the players was fantastic. It is certainly our aim to bounce back in the league over the Christmas period.
"We want to turn these performances and these steps in the right direction into wins. The players and coaches are working exceptionally hard and it's a case of turning the corner and turning some of these tight games we have been having recently into victories. Once we get on a bit of a roll I think this team will push forward.
"The Scarlets are a very talented team with lots of quality individuals but also a talented unit. Over the last five years Nigel Davies did a great job developing the team and pushing them forward. Simon Easterby has now taken over the mantel and they are a very good side and well organised.
"They will be a tough team to beat, but we are at home and with a big crowd behind us, we can create a good atmosphere by delivering a top performance."
Scarlets Head Coach Simon Easterby
"Both our games against the Blues and Ospreys will have the same intensity and ferocity of any Heineken game, derbies are made that way and there won't be much in it or between the sides.
"We have three big games ahead of us and we can't afford to lose any of the positive momentum we've gained in the league so far.
"We will have to be better than last weekend and while we competed well for forty minutes, we have to start much more strongly which we've really looked at this week.
"The game at Exeter showed we're a team that can really attack and we were more creative with the ball and kept it moving. We didn't allow Exeter to set a defensive line but there were too many errors and we'll need to make sure we sure up our first quarter well on Friday night.
"It will be a big atmosphere at the Arms Park and our players have responded well away from home this year and we'll thrive on to going to three exciting grounds with big crowds to play our rugby over the next few weeks."
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Saturday 20th September|
|Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton Treviso|
|Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 Glasgow|
|Friday 19th September|
|Connacht 10 - 9 Leinster|
|Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 Ulster|
|Munster 31 - 5 Zebre|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 Glasgow|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Leinster 42 - 12 Scarlets|
|Friday 12th September|
|Ulster 33 - 13 Zebre|
|Edinburgh 13 - 14 Connacht|
|Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys|
|Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 Munster|
|Sunday 7th September|
|Zebre 26 - 41 Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 6th September|
|Glasgow 22 - 20 Leinster|
|Connacht 16 - 11 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Scarlets 32 - 32 Ulster|
|Friday 5th September|
|Munster 13 - 14 Edinburgh|
|Ospreys 44 - 13 Benetton Treviso|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com