Glasgow Warriors will look to keep the pressure on Munster at the top of Conference A by getting a win on their travels against Cardiff Blues in the Guinness PRO14.
The Welsh side will be looking to overturn poor form against the Warriors in recent years, with just one win in their last 15 against Warriors.
Both line-ups feature players dropping out of their respective Guinness Six Nations squads in order to get game time, as they hope to shine in their club jerseys during the first break in the championship.
What’s at stake?
With Conference A tightly packed the order of teams in the table could all change by the close of Round 15.
A win for Blues and results going their way could see them jump to third, while Glasgow will be hoping to see conference leaders Munster slip up at home to Isuzu Southern Kings.
The Scottish side have had traditionally had the best of the fixture, with 20 wins in the 31 matches the teams have played between them.
Team news (Cardiff Blues)
Welsh internationals Jarrod Evans, Josh Turnbull and Seb Davies all return to the starting XV, after being released by their country for game-time.
Davies and Turnbull replace lock George Earle and back-rower Shane Lewis-Hughes respectively in the pack.
Evans slots back into the No.10 jersey and is the only change made to the backline from the narrow victory over Connacht a fortnight ago.
Team news (Glasgow Warriors)
Tighthead prop Zander Fagerson will start his first game in five months, returning from a broken leg he suffered in Warriors’ trip to South Africa in September.
George Turner also returns after injury to feature at hooker, having been missing since December’s home game against Lyon in December.
Scotland Sevens winger Kyle Steyn makes his debut, while Scott Cummings will play his 50th game for the club, starting at lock with Tim Swinson.
Cardiff Blues head coach John Mulvihill said: “We don’t have that many on the injury list at the moment, with Willis Halaholo and Jason Harries back fit and likely to feature next week.
“We’ve managed our group quite well through this period and we have a pretty good bill of health.
“We’ll have Jarrod, Josh and Seb back in for the captain’s run. They’ve had a pretty tough week so we won’t do too much, but we’ll go through our attacking shape and the small things we’ll be doing differently in defence.
“They’re three of our best players so we need them starting and playing long periods in this game.”
Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie said: “It’s great to have Zander back out there. He was playing some world class rugby before he got injured and has worked hard on his rehabilitation and is excited to be back.
“We’re energised by a short break and can’t wait to get back to action. We’re entering a key period in our season and have a really good side travelling down to Cardiff, where both teams know each other pretty well by now.
“Our depth is getting tested in a couple of positions but the Scotland players have slotted back in seamlessly and we’ve had a really good week of training.
Key battle: Matthew Morgan v Ruaridh Jackson
Two international full-backs will take to the field at Cardiff Arms Park, with both possessing a recognised threat carrying the ball back when any long kicks upfield are misjudged.
Morgan has just one try this term but has racked up 586 metres made, including eight clean breaks and 24 defenders beaten for the Blues.
Warriors man Jackson has not been quite as much of a threat, with 480 metres made, including five clean breaks and 17 defenders beaten.
Key stat: Blues’ only defeat at the Arms Park in the Championship this season came on the opening weekend at the end of August by a single point to champions Leinster.
Did you know? The Scottish side have won all seven games played against Welsh regions in all competitions this season, including home and away against the Blues in Europe.
Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Owen Lane, Harri Millard, Rey Lee-Lo, Aled Summerhill; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Gill, Kristian Dacey (c), Dmitri Arhip, Seb Davies, Rory Thornton, Josh Turnbull, Olly Robinson, Nick Williams
Replacements: Liam Belcher, Rhys Carré, Scott Andrews, Macauley Cook, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Dane Blacker, Dan Fish, Garyn Smith
Glasgow Warriors: Ruaridh Jackson, Kyle Steyn, Nick Grigg, Stafford McDowall, Rory Hughes, Pete Horne, Ali Price; Alex Allan, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson, Scott Cummings, Rob Harley (c), Thomas Gordon, Adam Ashe
Replacements: Kevin Bryce, Jamie Bhatti, Siua Halanukonuka, Kiran McDonald, Tevita Tameilau, Nick Frisby, Adam Hastings, Robbie Nairn
TV: Live on Premier Sports (Saturday, 7.35pm)
Referee: George Clancy (IRFU, 110th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Ben Whitehouse (WRU), Jonny Erskine (IRFU)
TMO: Leo Colgan (IRFU)
Citing Commissioner: John Charles (WRU)
Glasgow Warriors held off a dramatic late fightback from Conference A rivals Cardiff Blues to prevail 38-34 after a rollercoaster encounter at Arms Park saw the sides share ten tries.
Tries from Nick Grigg, Ali Price, Pete Horne, Nick Frisby and David Tameilau appeared to put the visitors on course for a comfortable bonus-point victory in the Welsh capital.
But the Blues almost staged an unlikely comeback after Aled Summerhill completed his hat-trick and Garyn Smith added a fifth try in the closing minutes following Owen Lane’s first-half effort.
Cardiff went into the game with a poor record against Glasgow, with just one win in their last 15 clashes, but struck early after a fine break from Jarrod Evans put Lane away.
And while Lane was unable to finish off the move after being stopped before the line, Cardiff moved the ball to the left and in-from centre Harri Millard chipped through for Summerhill to score.
Evans converted to give the hosts an early 7-0 lead as they looked to get revenge having lost to the Warriors both home and away in this season’s Champions Cup.
However, Glasgow responded with a near 40m penalty from outside-half Peter Horne before taking the lead with their opening try on 14 minutes through Grigg.
A cross-kick from Evans saw the ball break for Ruaridh Jackson and the Warriors full-back found himself in space just outside his 22, with a simple inside pass putting Grigg in for the score.
Horne converted and a second try followed just moments later when scrum-half Price sprinted over the whitewash unopposed from distance, with the conversion making it 17-7.
Blues were now on the backfoot and they conceded a third try on the half-hour, with Horne dotting down after Glasgow disrupted a Cardiff ruck and put the ball through the hands.
The hosts managed to give themselves hope on the cusp of half-time, though, going through the phases before Matthew Morgan’s break allowed Summerhill to go over for his second try.
Evans converted to cut the deficit to 24-14 at the interval, which was further narrowed to five points after the restart as the Blues shot out of the blocks once again.
Just as they had done in the first half, the hosts scored the opening try of the half with Evans and Morgan combining brilliantly to put Lane in for an unconverted score.
Evans then slotted a penalty after the Glasgow scrum wilted under pressure to make it a two-point game, with another effort to draw the sides level falling short on the hour.
But just as it looked as though momentum was tipping in Cardiff’s favour, Warriors hit back with two tries in 60 seconds to reassert their dominance and secure the victory.
Frisby bagged the bonus-point try after a snipe and drive under the sticks, before replacement Tameilau finished a brilliant counterattack launched by a hooker George Turner.
Cardiff were nowhere near done yet, though. Summerhill claimed his hat-trick after sprinting on to a kick from Evans, before Garyn Smith completed the scoring on 77 minutes.
The hosts continued to look for another try to snatch the spoils, but Warriors saw out the final minutes as the Blues were forced to settle for two bonus points.