Cardiff Blues welcome Ulster to the Cardiff City Stadium for Sunday’s Magners League encounter buoyed the fact they have lost just one of their last five matches in the Magners League.
The Blues have won four of their last five games against Irish opponents and have won their last seven matches against Ulster, however, Blues Director of Rugby David Young is taking nothing for granted,
“Ulster have spent a lot of money and obviously are a team that want to get back to the top where they were a couple of seasons ago,” said Young.
“They have a strong squad and have picked up a lot of wins this season, so I think it will be a difficult game for us.”
“I don’t think they are burdened with a lot of international withdrawals, so we know we are up against a very strong team and they will probably feel it’s a good time to come to Cardiff with so many of our internationals away.”
“Ulster are always strong up front and the players they have brought in have only added to that.”
“They also have plenty of flair behind and strike me as a very determined outfit.”
“I’ve been very impressed with the way they play and it will take a good team to beat them.”
“They’ve had some good performances and one or two narrow losses as well, but they’ve always been in every game they’ve played.”
Speaking of the Blues form this season Young added,
“We’ve had some good results in the Magners League without really playing as well as we would have liked.”
“Against Aironi we put in a very positive performance and the players showed a lot of hurt and determination. So I’d like to think we can start against Ulster where we finished in Italy.”
“We played a very simple game plan that day but are looking to expand our game with some big matches coming up over the next six to eight weeks.”
The Blues welcome back a number of experienced players with Chris Czekaj, Casey Laulala and Ceri Sweeney returning in the backs. Tom Slater starts at scrum half in place of the injured Lloyd Williams.
In the forwards there is a new back row with Rush, Paterson and Molitika starting and Paul Tito captains the side from the second row. The Blues also welcome back Taufa’ao Filise from injury, with T Rhys Thomas also starting at Hooker.
The Blues will be holding their fourth Regional Clubs Day at the match, which kicks off at 3.45pm, and thousands of young supporters are expected to be at the ground. A record 29 clubs from as far afield as Crickhowell and Gwernyfed in Powys have taken advantage of the ticket offer so it promises to be a great occasion.
At half time there will be a regional clubs parade with representatives from the clubs in attendance walking around the outside of the pitch. As well as this will be the event now synonymous with regional clubs day, the annual mascot race.
15 Chris Czekaj 14 Richard Mustoe 13 Casey Laulala 12 Dafydd Hewitt 11 Tom James 10 Ceri Sweeney 9 Tom Slater
8 Xavier Rush 7 Maama Molitika 6 Michael Paterson 5 Paul Tito (c) 4 James Down 3 Scott Andrews 2 T Rhys Thomas 1 Taufa’ao Filise
16 Gareth Williams 17 Tom Davies 18 Sam Hobbs 19 Bryn Griffiths 20 Ben White 21 Dan Fish 22 Gareth Davies 23 Gavin Evans