Harlequins v Cardiff Blues LV= Cup preview

Sitting at the top of pool 4 in the Anglo Welsh LV= Cup, Harlequins know that they will need a win against Cardiff Blues on Sunday to guarantee them not only a valuable spot in the next round of the competition, but also a home game.


With 7 players away on International duty and a number of injuries having hit the squad, Director of Rugby Conor O’Shea has praised the attitude and commitment of the players and is extremely proud of the way every member of the squad has stepped up to put the team in this strong position.


The fact that Harlequins are currently unbeaten in their last 8 games in all competitions, pays testament to the strength in depth that has been developed in the squad and the renewed confidence that pervades the team.


There are a handful of changes to the side that defeated Wasps, by running in an impressive 5 tries, in the luxurious grounds of the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi last week.


The front row sees Ceri Jones joined by Chris Brooker and John Andress, with Lewis Stevenson partnering Pete Browne in the second row. The back row of last week’s man of the match, Maurie Fa’asavalu, Captain Will Skinner and Chris York remains unchanged.


Double try scorer Karl Dickson continues his impressive 9-10 partnership with Nick Evans, and Tom Casson comes in to link up with George Lowe in the centres. Gonzalo Camacho and Sam Smith (who continues his remarkable try scoring record with 6 tries in 5 games this season) are once again named on the wings, with Ross Chisholm donning the number 15 shirt.


Cardiff Blues have named a team showing 10 changes from the side that faced the Ospreys last weekend.


With three of young players who featured in last Saturday’s match on international duty with Wales under 20′ facing England on Saturday, the Blues welcome back a number of familiar faces.


Chris Czekaj, Richard Mustoe, Casey Laulala, Tom James, Ceri Sweeney and Tom Slater all return to the backline with Dafydd Hewitt keeping his place at inside centre.


In the forwards the Blues welcome back Andries Pretorius, Paul Tito, Fau Filise and Gareth Williams.


Cardiff Blues take on an unbeaten Harlequins side this Sunday, 6 February, 3.15pm kick off, at The Stoop.


With the Quins the only side in the competition to have a 100 per cent record following their convincing 38-13 win over London Wasps in Abu Dhabi. However, the Blues have beaten the Quins in their last five encounters


The Blues will need to win and hope that Newcastle Falcons slip up against Exeter and for London Wasps to lose to the Ospreys if they are to progress to the semi final stages of the competition.


Match :Harlequins v Cardiff Blues
Date : Sunday: February 6
Kick Off : 15.15
Venue :Twickenham Stoop


Teams


Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Sam Smith, 13 George Lowe, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Gonzalo Camacho, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Chris York, 7 Will Skinner (c), 6 Maurie Fa’asavalu, 5 Pete Browne, 4 Lewis Stvenson, 3 John Andress, 2 Chris Brooker, 1 Ceri Jones.


Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Will Collier, 18 Mark Lambert, 19 Ollie Kohn, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Dave Moore, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Ben Urdapiletta.


Cardiff Blues :15 Chris Czekaj 14 Richard Mustoe 13 Casey Laulala 12 Dafydd Hewitt 11 Tom James 10 Ceri Sweeney 9 Tom Slater,8 Tom Brown 7 Josh Navidi 6 Andries Pretorius 5 Paul Tito (c) 4 Bryn Griffiths 3 Taufa’ao Filise 2 Gareth Williams 1 Tom Davies


16 T Rhys Thomas 17 Sam Hobbs 18 Nathan Trevett 19 Maama Molitika 20 Ben White 21 Rhys Downes 22 Gavin Evans 23 Dan Fish

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