Preview: Cardiff Blues v Munster

Cardiff Arms Park. Image by Seth Whales - Wikimedia Commons.

by Cole Martin 

CARDIFF Blues welcome an in-form Munster side to Cardiff Arms Park as they hope to end a poor run of form.

A disappointing October saw the Blues defeated in three consecutive games, losing out by only small margins to Edinburgh, Glasgow Warriors and Ulster.

Encouragingly for John Mulhivill’s team though, Munster haven’t registered a win in Cardiff since March 2017, but have had a blistering start to this year’s campaign.

The Red Army, coached by South African Johann van Graan, have secured three bonus-point victories in their opening four Guinness Pro14 fixtures, with two of those coming against Welsh opposition in Dragons and Ospreys.

Both sides will still have to deal with the absence of their most high-profile players due to their Rugby World Cup commitments.

The visitors are without a staggering 12 players that represented Ireland, whereas the Blues have seven Welsh internationals who remain in Japan.

Munster have appeared to show no weakness despite the amount of absentees, but Cardiff have struggled without their most instrumental players. The Blues now have to wait even longer for flanker Josh Navidi to return as he has been given a six-week lay-off following the hamstring injury sustained during Wales’ quarter final against France.

The hosts are also without winger Josh Adams, and his return will be eagerly anticipated after he recently exceeded Shane Williams’ record of six tries in a single World Cup campaign for Wales.  The talisman is yet to feature for the Blues though, since signing in March this year.

Impressive Samoan centre-half Ray Lee-Lo does return for the Blues however, following a group-stage elimination for his country.

Van Graan’s high-scoring team will see this game as a golden opportunity to climb to the top of the Pro14 Conference B, with only their Irish counterparts Connacht currently higher in the standings on points difference.

The Blues meanwhile, sit nine points below their opponents and will be hoping to move away from the foot of the table, with only winless Southern Kings having a lower points tally.

Kick off is at 19.35pm at the Cardiff Arms Park. The game will be refereed by Stuart Berry of the South African Rugby Union.