Sale Sharks v Cardiff Blues - Heineken Cup match preview
Last Updated: 14/10/12 12:23pm
Cardiff Blues welcome back Alex Cuthbert to their starting line-up for the Heineken Cup Pool Six opener with Sale Sharks on Sunday.
Wales international Cuthbert replaces Harry Robinson on the wing for the trip to Salford City Stadium.
The Blues, who reached the quarter-finals last season, have also made four changes up front with Sam Warburton, Marc Breeze, Bradley Davies and Tafa'ao Filise all included.
Sale, yet to win in the Aviva Premiership this season, have named youngsters Will Addison, Nathan Fowles, Mark Jennings and Tommy Taylor in their starting XV.
Addison switches to outside centre and Fowles teams up at half-back with Nick Macleod, following two appearances off the bench against Bath and Leicester Tigers.
Jennings will make his senior debut on the right wing, while Taylor is at hooker in an unchanged pack.
Both sides are looking to turn around recent poor results; Sale have lost all six of their matches this season, while Cardiff suffered back-to-back home defeats against Ulster and Glasgow in their most recent outings.
Sale: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Mark Jennings, 13 Will Addison, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Nathan Fowles, 8 Andy Powell, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Richie Vernon, 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts
Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 James Gaskell, 21 Cillian Willis, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Johnny Leota.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tom James, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Andries Pretorius (c), 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Lou Reed, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Marc Breeze, 1 Tafa'ao Filise. Replacements: 16 Andi Kyriacou, 17 Nathan Trevett, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 James Down, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Dan Fish.
What they said...
Sale director of rugby Bryan Redpath
"Cardiff Blues have been a strong side through the years in the Heineken Cup and are the number one seeds in our pool. They'll be a tough nut to crack. We'll approach the game with increased confidence, especially after the first half display against Leicester, and we must make sure that we're smart during the second half.
"Will Addison is a very talented player. He's had to fill in on the wing to cover injuries and a suspension, but I view him as a natural thirteen. Nathan Fowles added a lot of energy when he came on last weekend and didn't look out of place. We're giving him a chance to perform on a big stage and he's got a big role to play. Mark Jennings has played well in the Jets matches and has trained well. He's a physical boy who'll come up against some big players. We need to be on our mettle - it's an opportunity for all three of them to play well in a big game."
Cardiff director of rugby Phil Davies
"We've enjoyed a great tradition in the tournament as the Blues. We're one of the top seeds and are very eager to protect that status, so we're keen to do well in the competition as a whole.
"It will be very direct, forward battle on Sunday. There are areas which we can improve on, particularly the consistency with which we perform all the moves. We need the players to deliver that for us and we need to make sure that we give them the confidence to do that."