Cardiff Blues host Munster at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday at 7.15pm as seventh plays third in the Guinness PRO12.
The Blues are looking for their third successive win while Munster lost for their first league match since October – a run of nine games – last week to Scarlets
What’s at stake?
Munster are just two points off Leinster in top spot and could finish the weekend as league-leaders depending on results elsewhere.
The Blues could move up one place to sixth with a bonus-point win provided Glasgow Warriors lose to Newport Gwent Dragons.
Cardiff Blues team news: Danny Wilson has been forced into making changes to his side to take on Munster. With Wales retaining Alex Cuthbert and Kristian Dacey, Aled Summerhill and Matthew Rees come into the starting line-up.
Rhys Gill has been ruled out due to injury with Corey Domachowski his replacement and open side Josh Navidi returns to full fitness to start.
Munster team news: Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has made five changes from the side that lost to Scarlets in round 16 with second row Darren O’Shea coming in to partner skipper Billy Holland in the engine room. Robin Copeland has recovered from a thumb injury to take his place at No.8.
Ian Keatley returns to partner Duncan Williams in the half-backs as Tyler Bleyendaal is rested.
While Rory Scannell joining Jaco Taute in the midfield. Scannell overcame a knock to his knee while Taute switches from full-back to outside centre to accommodate Andrew Conway.
Ahead of their round 17 clash with Munster, Cardiff Blues boss Danny Wilson is confident his side can secure not only their third consecutive win but mount their charge for a top-six finish.
Wilson said: “It’s a great challenge to try to secure the double over Munster, something which doesn’t present itself season in, season out, and we have that opportunity over the weekend.
“We targeted three wins out of four games. We slipped up in the first game against Connacht at home, which has put a bit of pressure on this last one against Munster.
“Now we really want to achieve that goal and objective to give ourselves the opportunity to be in that top six.”
Key battle: Matthew Morgan v Andrew Conway
After recovering from a groin injury, Munster full-back Andrew Conway will be eager to make up for lost time by putting in a big performance.
Conway will have his work cut out as his opposite man Matthew Morgan has been in sparkling form with the ball in hand.
Loose kicking from the Munster backs will give the dangerous Morgan good counter-attacking opportunities on a surface suited for running rugby at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
Key stat: Munster Rugby’s nine game winning streak in the Guinness PRO12 ended at home to Scarlets on Friday.
Did you know? Cardiff Blues have won their last two matches in the Guinness PRO12, against Benetton Treviso and Edinburgh, but have not won three in a row since September.
Cardiff Blues Top points scorer: Steve Shingler 114pts Top try scorer: Tom James 6
Munster Top points scorer: Tyler Bleyendaal 102pts Top try scorer: Ronan O’Mahony 7
Overall Guinness PRO12 head to head record:
Played 27, Blues won 11, Munster won 16.
At BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, 5.15pm. Live on Sky Sports
Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU, 4th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Emanuele Tomo (FIR), Jon Hardy (WRU)
Citing Commissioner: Gwyn Bowden (WRU)
TMO: Jim Yuille (SRU)
Munster Rugby overcame a stubborn Cardiff Blues as they came from behind for a battling victory at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
Tries from Francis Saili and replacement Conor Oliver helped Rassie Erasmus’s side to victory, despite trailing for much of the match.
Aled Summerhill crossed for the hosts, but the Irish side had too much for a Cardiff side decimated by injury and absentees.
Cardiff were eighth in the Guinness PRO12 table at start of play, but did have some momentum after an 18-17 victory in Edinburgh last time out, and a convincing victory over Benetton Treviso before that.
Munster, meanwhile, were third behind Leinster and Ospreys, and were seeking to bounce back after having their impressive run of form halted by Scarlets at Thomond Park last week.
Steve Shingler opened the scoring for Cardiff after a scrappy opening 20 minutes when he landed a 40-metre penalty.
However, their advantage was short-lived as Rory Scannell returned the favour just two minutes later, Scannell assuming kicking duty after Ian Keatley, who looked impressive on his return to the side, was forced off the field with injury.
Shingler restored the Blues’ lead with another penalty three minutes before half-time after Josh Navidi had been penalised at a ruck.
The Blues started the second half brightly, and were rewarded when wing Summerhill sprinted 70 metres for an intercept try to seize the initiative for the hosts, Shingler adding the extras.
However, once again, the visitors responded almost instantly with a try of their own when replacement centre Francis Saili charged through the Blues defence to cross, Scannell converting.
Munster kept up the pressure on their Welsh hosts, and thought they had their noses in front through Andrew Conway, but a TMO replay showed he had not grounded the ball.
Scannell kicked a close-range penalty to level proceedings 13 minutes from time, the momentum firmly with the visitors, who barely got out of their own half in the second period.
And despite some heroic Cardiff defending, Scannell kicked a drop goal with four minutes left as the Munstermen took a 16-13 lead.
With the home side forced to commit men forward in search of a reply, Oliver raced clear from 30 metres from the breakdown to touch down unchallenged, Scannell adding the extras.
Munster are up to second, while Cardiff stay eighth, their top-six hopes having been dented.