by Dylan James
Guinness Pro14: Cardiff Blues v Glasgow Warriors
Venue: Rodney Parade, Newport
Date: Sunday, November 29th, 2020
Kick off: 19:35
FORMER Blues boss Danny Wilson returns to take on the team that he won the Challenge Cup with in 2018, as John Mulvihill is boosted by the return of Lee-Lo and Evans.
Blues boss Mulvihill said, “With Tomos and Jarrod combining at half-back and Rey returning in midfield, the back-line has a familiar and exciting look and we’re hoping to unleash more of our attacking game.”
The Blues slipped to fourth place in Conference B last week, after a heavy defeat against triple champions Leinster in Dublin.Visitors Glasgow Warriors sit fourth in Conference A, having accumulated only five points with six games played.
Cardiff Blues – Matthew Morgan; Owen Lane, Rey Lee-Lo, Ben Thomas, Aled Summerhill; Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Brad Thyer, Kristian Dacey (capt), Dmitri Arhip, Ben Murphy, Rory Thornton, James Ratti, Gwilym Bradley, Josh Turnbull.
Replacements – Ethan Lewis, Corey Domachowski, Keiron Assiratti, Alun Lawrence, Sam Moore, Jamie Hill, Mason Grady, Hallam Amos.
Glasgow Warriors – Glenn Bryce, Lee Jones, Nick Grigg, Robbie Fergusson, Ratu Tagive, Peter Horne, Sean Kennedy; Aki Seiuli, Grant Stewart, Enrique Pieretto, Lewis Bean, Kiran McDonald, Rob Harley, Tom Gordon, Ryan Wilson.
Replacements – Johnny Matthews, Alex Allan, D’Arcy Rae, Fotu Lokotui, TJ Ioane, Jamie Dobie, Brandon Thomson, Huw Jones.
Referee: Frank Murphy
For the Warriors, Tommy Seymour and Robbie Nairn miss out, whilst TJ Ioane drops to the bench. Seymour is yet to pass his concussion protocols after Monday’s defeat in Munster.
There are no big absentees in the Blues’ starting 15, with a number of regulars returning to the squad. Ratti and Turnbull cement their places at six and eight respectively, whilst Mulvihill has chosen youngster Gwilym Bradley at open side in place of Alun Lawrence, who drops to the bench.
Despite Bradley’s lack of experience, Mulvihill is confident that he can perform, “It is a big opportunity for Gwilym, who has only been training with the senior group for a month, but we feel we need a specialist seven and have been impressed with him so far.”
PLAYER TO WATCH?
Rey Lee-Lo (Cardiff Blues) – 33-year-old Samoan centre Lee-Lo has proven to be a vital cog in the Cardiff Blues machine since he signed from the Hurricanes in 2015.
Lee-Lo has formed an intimidating partnership with Willis Halaholo in the midfield, a partnership which was birthed in the Blues’ run to Challenge Cup glory in 2018. With two tries in four games this season, the Samoan will be keen to bounce back from his injury and hit form again.
POINT TO PROVE?
Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – After being released back to Glasgow from international duty with Scotland, 26-year-old Jones will be keen to prove that Gregor Townsend and Co. made the wrong decision by letting him go.
Jones has 25 caps for his nation, scoring 50 points, however, he has fallen out of favour recently, with calls for him to revive his career at full-back or wing. Despite starting on the bench, expect him to make a big impact when he comes on. Form is temporary, class is permanent.
After four consecutive defeats, Glasgow aren’t looking great on paper. The Blues will be strong in attack, with a half back pairing that possesses international level quality, in Tomos Williams and Jarrod Evans. Lee-Lo will add experience to the midfield too. Despite the 40-5 scoreline in Leinster last Sunday, the Blues showed some real resilience in defence, and it could have been a lot uglier had this defence not prevailed. My call is a Blues win by 7.