Preview: Cardiff Blues v Sale Sharks

Sale Sharks’ coach Philipe Saint-Andre has opted to rest most of his international stars for the EDF Energy Cup clash with Cardiff Blues on Friday.

England’s Mark Cueto and Andrew Sheridan, Argentina’s Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe and Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and France’s Sebastien Chabal were all involved in the latter stages of the World Cup and have been rested for an extra week.

“We welcome Sebastien Bruno back from the World Cup this week and he goes straight back into the team,” said Saint-Andre.

“He did not play much rugby during the World Cup and is keen to get back playing regularly.

“I have given the players who played in the World Cup last weekend a few days off but all of them will be back in full training from Monday and all will be in contention for a place in the 22 for next Friday’s EDF game against Bath at Edgeley Park along with Jason White who is now back in full training.

“The team played well last week scoring a try bonus against Saracens and against a good Cardiff side the players have a big opportunity to stake their place in the team.

“I said before the World Cup that the Internationals were not guaranteed a starting spot when they returned so the competition for places will be intense in the weeks to come, which is great news for the club and the supporters.

“Our squad will be completed when Luke McAlister arrives in the next couple of weeks.”

Form: Cardiff Blues head the Magners League table having been defeated just once in their last seven encounters: 19-30 at home to Leinster on 28 September. The Blues reached the semi-finals of the EDF Energy Cup last season having won all three of their pool games. Sale Sharks’ last eight matches have been won by the home side on the day, with the Sharks obtaining just one away win in any competition in the last 12 months: 29-11 at Calvisano in the Heineken Cup on 13 January. Sale also reached the semi-finals of the EDF Energy Cup last season after winning all three of their pool games. The Sharks’ only win in Wales since 2001 was at Newport Gwent Dragons in the European Cup in October 2005.

Cardiff Blues: tbc

Sale: 15 Julien Laharrague, 14 Rory Lamont, 13 Rudi Keil, 12 Lee Thomas, 11 Oriol Ripol, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Sililo Martens, 8 Nathan Bonner-Evans, 7 Magnus Lund, 6 Chris Jones, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Dean Schofield, 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Sebastien Bruno, 1 Lionel Faure
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Ben Evans/Stuart Turner, 18 Chris Day, 19 Michael Hills, 20 Richard Wigglesworth, 21 Chris Mayor, 22 Elvis Seveali’I/ Steve Hanley

Date: Friday, 27 October
Venue: Arms Park
Kick-off: 19:10 (18:10 GMT)
Referee: Dave Pearson (England)
Touch judges: Paul Dix (England), Steve Terheege (England)
Television match official: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)
Assessor: Tony Lynch (Wales)


365 Digital

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