Cardiff Blues team to face Benetton Rugby

Guinness PRO14 Rugby Editor
15 March 2018

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Matthew Morgan and Willis Halaholo return from injury for Cardiff Blues’ rescheduled Guinness PRO14 clash against Benetton Rugby on Friday (KO 7.35pm).

Josh Turnbull

The duo, who have been out of action since January, are the only changes made to the backline that claimed a narrow victory over Zebre in Parma at fortnight ago.

Morgan replaces the injured Rhun Williams at full back, while Halaholo comes into the line-up fo Rey Lee-Lo, who features on the bench.

Meanwhile, a further four changes are made in the pack, including captain Gethin Jenkins, who teams up with Taufa’ao Filise and Kirby Myhill in the front row.

Nick Williams and Macauley Cook are also recalled into the starting XV, with Josh Turnbull and Olly Robinson switching to lock and openside respectively, having impressed at Parma.

Head coach, Danny Wilson, was keen to remind his side of the importance of Friday’s fixture, as they look to put pressure on third-place Cheetahs, who currently occupy the final play-off spot.

“We’ve won three of the block of four PRO14 games that we targeted up to this point, with this one remaining to go four out of four,” said Wilson.

“We just managed to get the win out in Zebre last time out, which was a great achievement considering those conditions and the quality of the opposition.

“Now we need to do the double over the Italian sides by winning against Treviso on Friday night, but we know it’s going to be a tough game.

“It’s a tough five games remaining, but it’s five games we see as an opportunity to catch the Cheetahs.

“We’ve said over the last month that we’re looking up, trying to catch the Cheetahs and trying to get to that play-off positions, which would be a massive achievement for us, considering the season.

“But it’s a minimum standard for us to qualify for the Champions Cup, which is going to be a challenge with the other sides close on our heels, but I think, with the quarter final in Europe also to come, there is plenty to play for and plenty to be positive about.

“We don’t underestimate Benetton, even though it’s a home game and a game we put pressure on ourselves to get a result. We’ve got a good home record this season and we want to maintain that.”

A trio of Wales NatWest 6Nations squad members – Tomos Williams, Seb Davies and Ellis Jenkins – are released and named on the bench, while Kristian Dacey is also a replacement, as he makes a return from injury.

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Aled Summerhill, Garyn Smith, Willis Halaholo, Owen Lane; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Gethin Jenkins (C), Kirby Myhill, Taufa’ao Filise, George Earle, Josh Turnbull, Macauley Cook, Olly Robinson, Nick Williams

Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Rhys Gill, Scott Andrews, Seb Davies, Ellis Jenkins, Tomos Williams, Steven Shingler, Rey Lee-Lo

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