Blues prop forward Scott Andrews looks ahead to Friday as the Blues name their side to face Ulster
The Blues top the RaboDirect PRO12 table after two rounds courtesy of two bonus point wins against Edinburgh and Treviso and aim to make it three wins in a row in their opening three games for the first time since 2007/08. However, Ulster have won ten of their last eleven regular season matches in the tournament and have won all eight home matches they have played at Ravenhill in 2011.
Speaking ahead of the match, Cardiff Blues prop forward Scott Andrews said,
“I think the match is a bit of a step up.”
“We lost to Ulster twice quite heavily last season, so taking nothing away from Edinburgh and Treviso, it’s definitely a step up and a difficult challenge.”
“Obviously we got maximum points from our opening two games, so it’s been the perfect start.”
“We’re playing a different style of rugby, with a bit more width to our game and forwards playing with ball in hand, with a lot more skill required from the forwards, so hopefully we can continue that.”
“I think it’s a style of play that the boys enjoy. Much as the front five do the hard work they do enjoy having the ball in hand and I think the whole squad enjoy playing that style and are buying into it.”
“Obviously it’s going to be more difficult when the weather changes, because at the moment the weather’s been good when we’ve played.”
Ulster did the season’s double over the Blues last campaign for the first time since 2005/06, however, the Blues have won on three of their last four visits to Ravenhill.
“I made my debut against Ulster in Ravenhill a few seasons ago. We won that game 11-9 so it was a great first game for the Blues for me,” added Scott.
“We have actually won there since then but obviously last season we lost, so we will be looking to change things this year.”
“We targeted the first six games before the World Cup players come back so obviously aiming to win each game so it’s been a good start, and if we can continue with that form, momentum is a big thing in rugby and does a lot for your confidence.”
“We are confident going into Friday night and hopefully can keep the good run going.”
The Blues have made four changes to the team that won 33-18 against Treviso on Sunday. In the backs Casey Laulala returns to centre with Dafydd Hewitt moving to the bench. Ceri Sweeney returns to outside half with young Rhys Patchell covering on the bench. Gareth Davies tweaked a hamstring in Sunday’s match.
In the forwards, Xavier Rush returns in place of Andries Pretorius who picked up a bump on the knee against Treviso, while Paul Tito returns and leads the team from the second row. Cardiff RFC prop James Monck is on the bench after Ryan Harford suffered a minor shoulder injury in the win over Treviso.
15. Chris Czekaj 14. Alex Cuthbert 13. Casey Laulala 12. Gavin Evans 11. Tom James 10. Ceri Sweeney 9. Lewis Jones
8. Xavier Rush 7. Martyn Williams 6. Maama Molitika 5. Paul Tito (c) 4. Michael Paterson 3. Scott Andrews 2. T Rhys Thomas 1. Sam Hobbs
16. Rhys Williams 17. Nathan Trevett 18. James Monck 19. James Down 20. Thomas Young 21. Richie Rees 22. Rhys Patchell 23. Dafydd Hewitt
Not available due to injury
Ben Blair – knee
John Yapp – calf
Gareth Williams – neck
Andries Pretorius – knee
Kristian Dacey – shoulder
Ryan Harford – shoulder
Gareth Davies – hamstring
Unavailable because of RWC
Gethin Jenkins, Bradley Davies , Sam Warburton, Lloyd Williams, Jamie Roberts and Leigh Halfpenny