Cardiff Blues v Edinburgh match preview
Home. The return to the Cardiff Arms Park. Cardiff Blues fans are expected to turn up in large numbers in what is reported as a sell-out crowd to welcome the return of their team to the historic home of club and regional rugby in the Welsh capital. After securing a difficult away win in terrible conditions in Connacht, the Blues will be gearing up to bag themselves a well-earned home win.
Edinburgh will be no easy prospect. They came off the worse in a narrow home loss to Munster yet this belied the fact that through their danger man Tim Visser they scored three tries of their own. The Scottish side will always present a danger in their backs through quick ball, and they will be looking to do the same against the Blues. They should err on the side of caution though as they face a Welsh side that will be fielding the return of star back players Leigh Halfpenny and Alex Cuthbert.
With conditions looking to be good for running rugby, spectators will be hoping for an open and thrilling match, and there’s no doubting the two sides named are fully capable. Whether or not either pack will have the dominance to secure enough possession remains to be seen.
Neither front five is particularly strong, with the visitors perhaps having the edge, so the breakdown is going to be absolutely crucial. Pretorius led his side well in that area last week and the return of Wales captain Sam Warburton should be a massive boost for the home side. The liked of Grant and Denton are going to be faced with a stern task of combating the Blues’ backrow and hope to put their own considerable influence on the match.
I feel that this is going to be a close, edgy and exciting match, but ultimately with the home support and the return of key players, the Cardiff Blues should run out as winners but I would not be surprised to see Edinburgh secure themselves a losing bonus point.
My prediction: Cardiff Blues 25 – 20 Edinburgh
Cardiff Blues: 15. Leigh Halfpenny 14. Alex Cuthbert 13. Gavin Evans 12. Dafydd Hewitt 11. Tom James 10. Ceri Sweeney 9. Lewis Jones 1. Taufa’ao Filise 2. Rhys Williams 3. Benoit Bourrust 4. Bradley Davies 5. James Down 6. Josh Navidi 7. Sam Warburton
8. Andries Pretorius (c)
Substitutes: 16. Marc Breeze 17. Nathan Trevett 18. Thomas Davies 19. Lou Reed 20. Luke Hamilton 21. Lloyd Williams 22. Rhys Patchell 23. Thomas Williams
Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks 14 Lee Jones 13 Nick De Luca 12 John Houston 11 Tim Visser
10 Greig Laidlaw (c) 9 Richie Rees 1 Allan Jacobsen 2 Ross Ford 3 Geoff Cross 4 Grant Gilchrist 5 Sean Cox 6 David Denton 7 Roddy Grant 8 Stuart McInally
Substitutes:16 Andy Titterrell 17 John Yapp 18 Willem Nel 19 Perry Parker 20 Netani Talei 21 Chris Leck 22 Gregor Hunter 23 Sep Visser