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- Guinness PRO12
- 7th Sep 2014
- KO 16:00
- Ground: Stadio XXV Aprile
- Att: 2,200
Guinness PRO12: Zebre host Cardiff Blues in Parma in Sunday's lone clash
Cardiff Blues get their new Guinness PRO12 campaign underway with a trip to Italy to face Zebre at the Stade XXV Aprile on Sunday afternoon.
Italian sides have proven a thorn in the side for Cardiff of late and they will be desperate to start their season on a winning note, especially given Zebre’s record against the Blues last term.
Zebre beat the Blues at Cardiff Arms Parks in Round 3 last year before going on to complete the double over Cardiff, who won just one of their four fixtures against Italian opposition last term.
The form guide offers little hope to Cardiff, who start the new term under the shrewd tutelage of former Super Rugby coach Mark Hammett, with Zebre unbeaten in their last four Parma outings.
Former Cheetahs full-back Hendrik Daniller takes the No 15 jersey on his Zebre debut following his summer arrival, while there is also a debut for Mirco Bergamasco at centre.
Italian lock Quintin Geldenhuys leads the side from the second row, with nine other Azzuri internationals in the matchday squad.
Despite heading into the new term unbeaten in four on home soil , Zebre head coach Andrea Cavinato is wary of the threat posed by the Blues.
“Sunday we must face this game with the maximum concentration and humility because we know that Cardiff,” he said.
“Although last year we beat them twice, have made major recruitments and have got a new quality coach: they definitely want to excel in this league again.”
Cardiff’s three summer signings all start as the Blues look to make a winning start to the campaign.
Following his arrival from Ospreys, Wales and British Lion Adam Jones packs down alongside captain Matthew Rees and Sam Hobbs in the front row.
Josh Turnbull will play at blindside flanker and is part of a powerful back row that includes fellow new boy and Italian international Manoa Vosawai as well as Wales captain Sam Warburton.
Rhys Patchell and Lloyd Williams are paired at half back after impressing together in the final pre-season fixture with Leicester Tigers.
Gavin Evans and Cory Allen will form a midfield partnership while rising star Owen Jenkins is named on the wing for the third PRO12 start of his career. His first start also came in Italy against Benetton Treviso last season.
Director of rugby Mark Hammett said: "We're looking forward to the first game of the new Guinness PRO12 season against a Zebre team who will no doubt be keen to make a positive start on home soil.
"We need to focus on ourselves and performing; we have real competition for places right across the squad. Every player knows they need to produce in Italy to keep hold of the jersey.”
Zebre: 15 Hendrik Daniller, 14 Dion Berryman, 13 Mirco Bergamasco, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Brendon Leonard; 1 Matias Aguero, 2 Andrea Manici, 3 Dario Chistolini, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys (capt), 5 George Biagi, 6 Filippo Ferrarini, 7 Andries van Schlkwyk, 8 Samuela Vunisa
Replacements: 16 Oliviero Fabiani, 17 Andrea de Marchi, 18 Luciano Leibson, 19 Andries Ferreira, 20 Filippo Cristiano, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Kelly Haimona, 23 Edoardo Padovani
Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Owen Jenkins, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams; 1 Sam Hobbs, 2 Matthew Rees (capt), 3 Adam Jones, 4 Chris Dicomidis, 5 Filo Paulo, 6 Josh Turnbull, 7 Sam Warburton, 8 Manoa Vosawai
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Dafydd Hewitt
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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|
|15:00||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|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com