Select a team
- London Irish
- London Welsh
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- Cardiff Blues
- Clermont Auvergne
- Racing Metro
- Stade Francais
- La Rochelle
|Home team||Away Team|
|22 - 26||
- Guinness PRO12
- 22nd Feb 2013
- KO 19:30
- Ground: Cardiff Arms Park
- Att: 5,236
Cardiff Blues v Connacht - RaboDirect PRO12 preview
Cardiff Blues have named full-back Chris Czekaj in their starting line-up for Friday's RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Connacht at the Arms Park.
Czekaj makes his first start for the Blues this season having recovered from a foot injury, suffered against Worcester in pre-season.
The Blues take on a Connacht team that beat Ospreys 22-10 in Round 15 but have not won back-to-back contests in the tournament since April. The Irishmen's only away win in the PRO12 this season remains the win at Zebre in Round 2.
Cardiff's last three games in the PRO12 have remarkably all been won by the away side on the day but they have a strong record against the Irish side with Connacht having won just two in their 19 previous matches with the Blues, both in Galway.
Meanwhile, Connacht have made four changes to the team that beat Ospreys last week.
While Robbie Henshaw remains in Ireland camp, fit-again skipper Gavin Duffy, who earned his 150th Connacht cap last week, will start at full-back on Friday.
Fetu'u Vainikolo is named on the wing, replacing Tiernan O'Halloran who suffered a knee injury against Ospreys.
With centres Dave McSharry (groin) and Kyle Tonetti (shoulder) both unavailable, 27-year-old Brian Murphy will start at inside centre.
Meanwhile, there is just one change up front with Andrew Browne replacing Mick Kearney in the second-row.
Recent returnee from injury Denis Buckley is named on the bench as well as replacement back-rower TJ Anderson.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Chris Czekaj, 14 Owen Williams, 13 Richard Smith, 12 Gavin Evans (c), 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Rory Watts-Jones, 6 Michael Paterson, 5 James Down, 4 Macauley Cook, 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Taufa'ao Filise.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Nathan Trevett, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Luke Hamilton, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Liam Davies, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Jason Tovey.
Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy (capt), 14 Danie Poolman, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Brian Murphy, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Andrew Browne, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Nathan White, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 TJ Anderson, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Matthew Jarvis.
What they said...
Cardiff Blues Director of rugby Phil Davies
"It was good to get the result up in Scotland last week against Edinburgh. We played well and our defence was strong.
"We've built our performances and had some good results since the start of the year.
"We want to continue building on that and gather some momentum.
"I'm sure that Connacht will be a tough encounter for us.
"They are a good team; a very direct side who kick well and run hard.
"Our defence will have to be up to the mark and our back three I'm sure will have a busy night.
"Former Blues fly half, Dan Parks, I'm sure will be a threat. He is a quality player and I know him well, being the first coach to bring him to the UK when I was coaching Leeds.
"He came over for eight games and did an excellent job. He was a great distributor and a running fly half. He was always a good goal kicker and his game has evolved a lot since he arrived."
|Click here for more betting|
Guinness PRO12 Table
|Friday 6th March|
|19:35||Cardiff Blues vs Connacht|
|19:35||Glasgow Warriors vs Zebre|
|Saturday 7th March|
|14:40||Ospreys vs Munster|
|17:15||Scarlets vs Leinster|
|18:00||Treviso vs Edinburgh|
|Sunday 8th March|
|16:00||Dragons vs Ulster|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:35||Leinster vs Glasgow|
|19:35||Ulster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 28th March|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Zebre|
|14:40||Scarlets vs Edinburgh|
|17:15||Munster vs Connacht|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Cardiff Blues|
|19:35||Benetton Treviso vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 11th April|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Munster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Scarlets|
|14:40||Connacht vs Ulster|
|Sunday 12th April|
|16:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Leinster|
|Friday 24th April|
|19:35||Edinburgh vs Zebre|
|19:35||Ulster vs Leinster|
|Saturday 25th April|
|TBC||Munster vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Scarlets|
|TBC||Connacht vs Glasgow|
|Saturday 9th May|
|TBC||Ulster vs Munster|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Connacht 53 - 5 Treviso|
|Zebre 23 - 17 Dragons|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 15 Edinburgh|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Munster 22 - 10 Glasgow Warriors|
|Friday 27th February|
|Ospreys 9 - 9 Leinster|
|Ulster 25 - 20 Scarlets|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|Dragons 25 - 30 Connacht|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Glasgow 19 - 16 Ospreys|
|Scarlets 25 - 25 Munster|
|Friday 20th February|
|Edinburgh 17 - 20 Ulster|
|Leinster 29 - 8 Zebre|
|Benetton Treviso 40 - 24 Cardiff Blues|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Leinster 14 - 16 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Zebre 10 - 54 Glasgow|
|Scarlets 32 - 14 Connacht|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Munster 33 - 16 Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 13th February|
|Edinburgh 24 - 16 Ospreys|
|Ulster 43 - 3 Benetton Treviso|
|Sunday 11th January|
|Ospreys 22 - 11 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Benetton Treviso 20 - 24 Ulster|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com