Heineken Cup Pool 2: Cardiff Blues v Toulon match preview

Last Updated: 19/10/13 12:52pm

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Robin Copeland (C): Starts at No 8 after scoring a try last weekend

Robin Copeland (C): Starts at No 8 after scoring a try last weekend

Sky Bet

Cardiff Blues have made three changes to their starting XV for the visit of defending Heineken Cup champions Toulon on Saturday.

The Blues were thrashed 44-29 by Exeter in their opening contest and things do not get any easier despite the fact they enjoy home advantage for the Pool 2 clash.

Robin Copeland, who came off the bench to score a try at Exeter last weekend, is rewarded with a spot in the starting line-up at No 8 this time round, with Andries Pretorius dropping out.

Director of rugby Phil Davies makes one further change in the pack as Tau Filise, who like Pretorius is injured, is replaced by Scott Andrews at prop.

In the back-line, Dafydd Hewitt is taken out of the squad to be replaced by Owen Williams, who will partner Cory Allen in the centres.

Toulon enjoyed a huge 51-28 opening win over Glasgow but have themselves made five changes for the trip to the Arms Park.

Jonny Wilkinson still captains the side from fly-half, and there is more English interest as both Delon and Steffon Armitage, the latter of which did not play against Glasgow, are named in the starting XV.

New Zealander Rudi Wulf comes in for David Smith on the left wing, while France international Frederick Michalak replaces Michael Claassens.

In the pack Armitage replaces Joe van Niekerk at flanker, while hooker Benjamin Noirot and prop Emmanuel Felsina both drop to the bench, being replaced by Jean-Charles Orioli and Xavier Chiocci respectively.

Toulon are big favourites to win but Cardiff may take some hope from the fact that they have already lost away to Oyonnax, Grenoble and Castres in the Top 14 this season.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Owen Williams, 12 Cory Allen, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Matthew Rees (capt), 1 Gethin Jenkins.

Replacements: 16 Marc Breeze, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Benoit Bourrust, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Rory Watts-Jones, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Richard Smith.

Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Maxime Mermoz, 12 Matthew Giteau, 11 Rudi Wulf, 10 Jonny Wilkinson (capt), 9 Frederic Michalak, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Jean-Charles Orioli, 1 Xavier Chiocci.

Replacements: 16 Benjamin Noirot, 17 Emmanuel Felsina, 18 Carl Hayman, 19 Juan Smith, 20 Drew Mitchell, 21 Alexis Palisson, 23 Jocelino Suta.

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