RETURN OF THE BLUES
December 13 2018
These back to back European fixtures are good fun – and give the losing team an immediate opportunity for revenge. Look how our encouraging performance down in Clermont last year set the trend for the rest of our season.. Far from cutting their losses and concentrating on the Pro-14, by all accounts Cardiff are targeting this match with a number of their injured players due back. Realistically Cardiff have a minimal chance of progressing (given Glasgow’s good form and the fact Blues still need to go to Scotstoun) but that doesn’t mean they are ready to roll-over.
They will play for pride if nothing else and there is a lot of that at stake in English/Welsh clashes. Blues Josh Turnbill confirmed as much after Sunday’s game. “You can bounce back straight away and you get a second crack at them. We want to go out next week and put a few wrongs right”
Cardiff’s performance in the first half at Allianz will give them some hope although their inability to cope with the strength of the wind and the Saracen’s attack in the second half will probably bring them down to earth! Nevertheless home advantage IS an advantage and Sarries will need to keep their wits, and everything else, about them if they are to prevail across the Severn Bridge on Saturday. The game appears to be a sell-out and John Mulvihill has already called on the Arms Park faithful to ‘make the difference’. “We definitely have the belief, especially at home, that we can turn any team over” he said. “We need the crowd to be out in force, and that's something they're really good at. They're passionate and knowledgeable about the game and they'll get behind us this weekend.” (So hugely important that those of us making the trip make our presence felt. We may not have the same reputation for singing as the Welsh supporters who came to London last weekend but we can definitely make some noise!)
Mulvihill confirmed that “5 or 6 boys will be back in there next week” including Josh Navidi, Kristian Dacey, Rey Lee-Lo and Nick Williams. However several Blues’ players picked up knocks on Sunday including scrum half Lloyd Williams, Jarrod Evans & Jason Harries. Some of the forwards also picked up injuries and one wonders how keen Mulvihill will be to risk these guys on Saturday when Blues have 3 big Derby games coming up in the Pro-14. Mulvihill felt Blues weren’t too far away last weekend. “We've looked at the review from Sunday and there wasn't a lot that we got wrong. Our defence was probably 90 per cent there, and across the board there were a few times where we were inaccurate, but that didn't come down to the system. There are areas we need to work on because we know they will come with a similar sort of strategy this week and we'll want to get the ball to the right areas of the field this weekend.” Hmmm – well he would say that wouldn’t he! The forecast is for rain on Saturday but this won’t be a good old-fashioned “up-the-jumper” affair given Cardiff also have an artificial pitch so both sides should feel at home.
So here goes for the Cardiff team!
Morgan, Scully, Millard, Lee-Lo, Smith, Anscombe, Jones, Gill, Dacey, Lewis, Thornton, Davies, Turnbill, Robinson, Navidi, N Williams
And for Sarries (assuming Wray, Stretts & Liam are out):-
Goode, Maitland, Lozowski, Barritt, Lewington, Farrell, Spencer, Mako, George, Koch, Isiekwe, Skelton, Rhodes, Earl, Vailanu
(as usual what do I know!)
The referee is once again from across the channel, this time Jerome Garces so again one of the best. Good luck to all of us making the journey across Offa’s Dyke. I still come out in a cold sweat when I think about that awful trip to the Millennium Stadium for the European Final against Toulon. Sounds like there are plenty of hazards en route, including roadworks on the bridge so an early start methinks.
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:12:22:18:52:31 by Darraghgirl.