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Cardiff v Dragons - RaboDirect Pro 12 match preview
Cardiff Blues director of rugby Phil Davies has made four changes for the RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Newport Gwent Dragons on Boxing Day.
All of the switches come in the pack, including two in the front row where hooker Rhys Williams and prop Sam Hobbs come in for Marc Breeze and Taufa'ao Filise respectively.
Lou Reed (second row) and Robin Copeland (blindside) are the other new faces as Cardiff bid to improve on a poor recent run which has seen them win just one of their last seven league encounters.
"Obviously it's a very important game, as it's a derby match and there are local bragging rights at stake, however, it's just one more game," Davies stated.
"We had a tight result against the Dragons earlier on in the year so it's important that we don't underestimate them. There are some top players at the Dragons."
The Dragons welcome back Wales international back-rower Toby Faletau, centre Andy Tuilagi and winger Will Harries for the clash at Cardiff Arms Park on Wednesday.
Faletau comes in at No.8 and forms part of a new-look back-row that sees skipper Lewis Evans move to blindside and Nic Cudd start at openside.
Rob Beale's side have not played since December 16 when they thrashed Italian outfit Mogliano in the Amlin Challenge Cup and their coach is hoping that might aid them ahead of the derby showdown.
"The fact that we've got a nice rest going into the game hopefully will benefit our players," said Beale.
"Any time we play the Blues it's a big day. There's that rivalry, they're probably our biggest rivals; historically they always have been and it's an important game for both regional organisations."
Cardiff: 15. Jason Tovey, 14. Alex Cuthbert, 13. Gavin Evans, 12. Dafydd Hewitt, 11. Harry Robinson, 10. Rhys Patchell, 9. Lewis Jones, 8. Andries Pretorius, (c) 7. Sam Warburton, 6. Robin Copeland, 5. Lou Reed, 4. Bradley Davies, 3. Scott Andrews, 2. Rhys Williams, 1. Sam Hobbs
Replacements: 16. Kristian Dacey, 17. Taufa'ao Filise, 18. Benoit Bourrust, 19. James Down, 20. Josh Navidi, 21 Alex Walker, 22. Ceri Sweeney, 23. Richard Smith
Dragons: 15. Hallam Amos, 14. Will Harries, 13. Pat Leach, 12. Andy Tuilagi, 11. Mike Poole, 10. Dan Evans, 9. Wayne Evans; 1. Phil Price, 2. Sam Parry, 3. Dan Way, 4. Andrew Coombs, 5. Rob Sidoli, 6. Lewis Evans 7. Nic Cudd, 8. Toby Faletau
Replacements: 16. Hugh Gustafson, 17. Owen Evans, 18. Nathan Buck, 19. Adam Jones, 20. Tom Brown, 21. Jonathan Evans, 22. Lewis Robling, 23. Jack Dixon
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RaboDirect PRO12 Table
|Saturday 6th September|
|TBC||Munster vs Edinburgh|
|TBC||Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Glasgow vs Leinster|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Scarlets vs Ulster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 13th September|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Munster|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Connacht|
|TBC||Ulster vs Zebre|
|TBC||Leinster vs Scarlets|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Glasgow|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 20th September|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Ulster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Munster|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Edinburgh|
|TBC||Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Connacht vs Leinster|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow|
|Saturday 27th September|
|TBC||Leinster vs Cardiff Blues|
|TBC||Munster vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Scarlets|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Zebre vs Ulster|
|TBC||Glasgow vs Connacht|
|Saturday 4th October|
|TBC||Leinster vs Munster|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com