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What Would Be Your Matchday Squad For First League Game?


By Craig Muncey
August 21 2016

After yesterday's pre-season match against Bristol, there are no further run out's prior to the first league game, home to Edinburgh. So what would your lineup be to get the season off to give you the greatest opportunity to get the season off to a winning start? Being brave and still slightly hungover from last night, I give you my side and a brief summary as to my selections. Be interested to hear your thoughts on my selections, and what your respective sides would be, so please get in touch. Here we go!

My Cardiff Blues Matchday Squad against Edinburgh.

15. Dan Fish - I fully expect Matthew Morgan to start at full-back, after being recently signed from Bristol, plus being at home on the 4G pitch, but this is my side not what I think Danny Wilson selects.  For me, Fish has a better all round game than Morgan currently and has a much stronger kicking game when required.  Both need work defensively, but for me, Fish gets the nod.

14. Blaine Scully - Alex Cuthbert had his moments before going off injured on Saturday, and Aled Summerhill is looking sharp, but for me at this moment in time, Blaine Scully looks the sharpest of them all.  Always looking for work and is very dependable.

13. Cory Allen - Was great seeing Allen playing well on Saturday, great inside pass and vision for Tom James try. The player has so much to offer, just hope he stays injury free this season.  His battle with the other centres for a place in the side when all available will make for great viewing.

12. Rey Leelo - Ended the season in great form last season, hopefully, he can continue that form this season. Promising signs of a budding partnership with Allen yesterday. Garyn Smith and Willis Halaholo also looking to get into the side. Going to be interesting.

11. Tom James - One of the unluckiest players in Wales in terms of national honours, again was excellent yesterday, great support runner and runs into contact with real conviction.  Nailed on left winger for Cardiff Blues right now.

10. Gareth Anscombe - Steven Shingler has looked safe and assured at 10 in pre-season, and will play a big role this coming season but Anscombe has a great passing game and Cardiff Blues will be looking to him to be a leader on the pitch this season.  Lots of pressure on Anscombe's kicking game this season, and how he does will go a long way to seeing how Cardiff Blues season goes.

9. Tomos Williams - Was impressed by this player end of last season and again on Saturday he continued to impress me. Brings real pace and intent to Cardiff Blues attacking game.  Is raw makes the odd error, but with Lloyd Williams still in rehab since his ankle operation would go with Tomos to start.

1. Rhys Gill - Thought Rhys showed up well in the first half on Saturday, carried well and is a solid scrummager.  With Gethin and Brad Thyer also battling for the 1 shirt, Cardiff Blues appears to have good cover in this position.  With Gethin not starting in pre-season would go with Gill for the first game of the season.

2. Kirby Myhill - Again, I thought Myhill looked good on Saturday, looked strong and aggressive, and line-outs went well.  Going to be a good three-way battle between Myhill, Kristian Dacey and Matthew Rees this season.  Going with Myhill to start, and after reading his Twitter disagreement with a fan late last night, don't want to upset him ;)

3. Tal Filise - When Filise went off on Saturday the scrum started to creak so for me old father time and Cardiff legend Filise gets the nod.  Salesi Maafu still looks short of match fitness, Dillon Lewis I am looking forward to getting good game time this season but still Filise the main man at 3.

4. George Earle - Earle looked fit and hungry to prove a point on Saturday and did some good work in the tight. Is an out and out lock forward, which Cardiff Blues do not have many of to add some grunt at scrum time.  Earle gets the nod from me over Jarrod Hoeata

5. James Down - In my view the best lineout forward in the squad. With the back row I want to select then I need a strong lineout source, so Down for me gets the shirt. Puts in a decent shift in defence and ball carrying as well. An underrated player.

6. Sam Warburton - Has shown time and time again can come into a game without little match day fitness and have a strong showing.  Tough on the player of last season Josh Turnbull and Macauley Cook who had a strong showing yesterday to miss out, but Sam with his aggressive ball carrying and work at the tackle area, which we need tightening up after yesterday, would improve the side.

7. Ellis Jenkins - Such an intelligent rugby player, great at the breakdown and has great vision.  He and Sam worked well in tandem last season, and I would want to give them the opportunity to start the season off together and carry that on.

8. Nick Williams - Won man of the match on Saturday by the sponsors, and did put in a strong showing, for such a huge man who likes confrontation, has such subtle hands and a great offloading game. Williams is going to be a big fan favourite. With Williams smashing into people for 60 minutes and then Josh Navidi coming on with his low centre of gravity and burst of speed, going to be a nightmare for the respective opposition but a delight for us Cardiff Blues fans, a real one-two punch.

Bench

16. Kristian Dacey

17. Gethin Jenkins - If not fit, Brad Thyer

18. Dillon Lewis

19. Josh Turnbull

20. Josh Navidi

21. Lloyd Williams - If not fit, Lewis Jones

22. Matthew Morgan

23. Steven Shingler

So there you have it, my side for the first home league game of the season, hope you have enjoyed.

Next week, I will be publishing an opinion piece on how the Guinness Pro 12 League, in terms of winners and how the Welsh pro teams will fare, plus the winners of the Aviva Premiership, European competitions and the French league.  I will be joined by respected journalist Mike Pearce, and new writers for 1876 Cardiff Rugby this season, Sion Ford and Martin Hughes.  Sion and Martin are massive Cardiff Blues fans, and I am delighted to have them on board to share their views with the fans.

Here is to a great season, thanks all.

Craig Muncey

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Who Would Be Your Matchday Squad For First League Game?
1876 Cardiff Rugby (IP Logged)
21/08/2016 09:02
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
If you do not already have an account Click here to Register.

 
Re: Who Would Be Your Matchday Squad For First League Game?
Cardiffblues1 (IP Logged)
21/08/2016 09:12
Yep except I would play Cuthbert. Thought he looked good before he went off. Oh and why is Mafu not fit. Hasn't he done a pre season?

 
Re: Who Would Be Your Matchday Squad For First League Game?
Craig Muncey (IP Logged)
21/08/2016 09:29
Quote:
Cardiffblues1
Yep except I would play Cuthbert. Thought he looked good before he went off. Oh and why is Mafu not fit. Hasn't he done a pre season?

Cuthbert did look decent when he was on Saturday, few moments he got frustrated but did ok. I just think Scully right now looks sharper.

Maafu played against Newport but by all accounts looked short of fitness. I was hoping to get Maafu back fully fit, and in good condition, the player that Toulon bought from Northampton Saints, as that player would be a huge asset to us.

 
Re: Who Would Be Your Matchday Squad For First League Game?
bluesmudger (IP Logged)
21/08/2016 12:09
Looks like Ma'afu has been resting on his laurels or may have been injured during the summer - certainly carrying too much timber.

I would assume the Welsh boys won't be available for another couple of weeks - possibly only bench appearances.

With that - Navidi starting at six and Shingler for Anscombe.

Suspect it may be Morgan at 15 and Fish instead of Scully.

Nice to have some options for a change!

 
Re: Who Would Be Your Matchday Squad For First League Game?
Jim Morris (IP Logged)
21/08/2016 13:27
I would start Shingler at 10 and Jarrod Evans off the bench as he made a great impact in the 9 minutes against Bristol! I feel the NDC's haven't had enough preperation due to coming back to pre season far later than the rest of the Squad and probably down on match fitness!

 
Re: Who Would Be Your Matchday Squad For First League Game?
cardiff_steve (IP Logged)
21/08/2016 13:40
Hard to say without knowing who is available....

I think yesterday's starting XV will start vs Edinburgh. Maybe Turnbull for either Cook or Dolan if he's available. Other Wales players maybe start on the bench first game back.

Pretty even between Earle and Down so maybe the latter will come in.

 
Re: Who Would Be Your Matchday Squad For First League Game?
Dan the Honest Man (IP Logged)
22/08/2016 08:52
I don't think Lloyd Williams will be fit for the first league game at least.
I would go with Lewis Jones starting at 9 with Tomos Williams on the bench.
Lewis also looked sharp against the dragons, scoring and assisting in tries in both halves, considering the tuning our 8 got in the first 25-30mins, I thought he did extremely well and looks to be starting where he left off last season.

 
Re: Who Would Be Your Matchday Squad For First League Game?
ExiledBLues (IP Logged)
29/08/2016 11:16
Starting to build a bit a depth & have an environment for young players to come into a learn instead being forced into the deep end. My 23 for Edinburgh would be

1. Gill

2. Dacey

3. Ma'afu

4. Earle

5. Down

6. Turnball

7. Jenkins

8. Warburton

9. T. Williams

10. Anscombe

11. James

12. Lee-lo

13. Allen

14. Fish

15. Morgan


16. Myhill

17. Jenkins

18. Lewis

19. Hoeata

20. Navidi

21. L. Jones

22. J. Evans

23. Summerhill

 
Re: Who Would Be Your Matchday Squad For First League Game?
Dave G9 (IP Logged)
29/08/2016 15:37
I'm with ExiledBlue on the back line although I would have Cuthbert in if fit.
I am not sure about your choice of pack. Edinburgh are not great but gave a strong pack and I think we would be in trouble with Gill / Dacey / Maafu front row..
Also I would start Nick Williams at 8 with Navidi to come on second half.

 
Re: Who Would Be Your Matchday Squad For First League Game?
BluesMikel (IP Logged)
29/08/2016 16:28
Shingler has to be in the mix surely?

 
Re: Who Would Be Your Matchday Squad For First League Game?
Ben Blair's Right Peg (IP Logged)
31/08/2016 13:43
Keeping balance in the back row is a brilliant but difficult problem for Danny, Jenkins offers more turnovers than Warburton, but sam is better in the air and ball in hand.
For me:
Morgan
Cuthbert
Allen
Lee-lo
James
Anscombe
T. Williams
N. Williams
Jenkins
Warburton
Earle
Down
Ma'afu (for a half)
Myhil
Gill

Dacey
Jenkins
Lewis
Hoeta
Cook
Navidi
L. Williams
Shingler
Fish

 
Re: Who Would Be Your Matchday Squad For First League Game?
robin58 (IP Logged)
31/08/2016 19:19
My team Morgan
Cuthbert
Allen
Lee-lo
James
Anscombe
T. Williams
N. Williams
Jenkins
Warburton
Earle
Down
Gill Myhil Filise

Dacey
Jenkins
Lewis
Hoeta
Cook
Navidi
L. Williams
Shingler
Morgan

 
Re: Who Would Be Your Matchday Squad For First League Game?
robin58 (IP Logged)
31/08/2016 19:21
correction Fish at 15

 
Re: Who Would Be Your Matchday Squad For First League Game?
DJKA (IP Logged)
01/09/2016 13:46
15. Morgan
14. Cuthbert
13. Allen
12. Lee-Lo
11. James
10. Anscombe
9. T.Williams
8. N.Williams
7. E.Jenkins
6. S.Warburton
5. Earle
4. Turnbull
3. Ma'afu
2. Myhill
1. G.Jenkins

16. Dacey
17. Gill
18. D.Lewis
19. Down
20. Navidi
21. L.Williams
22. Shingler
23. Fish

 
Re: Who Would Be Your Matchday Squad For First League Game?
Dave G9 (IP Logged)
01/09/2016 21:09
Quite a few have Lloyd Williams in their squad for Saturday. I am reliably informed that he is still a couple of weeks from being fit enough for selection

 
Re: Who Would Be Your Matchday Squad For First League Game?
Craig Muncey (IP Logged)
02/09/2016 12:22
Cardiff Blues: 15 -Dan Fish; 14 - Blaine Scully, 13 - Cory Allen, 12 - Rey Lee-Lo, 11 - Tom James; 10 - Steve Shingler, 9 - Tomos Williams; 1 - Rhys Gill, 2 - Kirby Myhill, 3 - Taufa'ao Filise, 4 - George Earle, 5 - Macauley Cook, 6 - Josh Navidi, 7 - Ellis Jenkins (capt), 8 - Nick Williams.

Replacements: 16 - Kristian Dacey, 17 - Gethin Jenkins, 18 - Scott Andrews, 19 - James Down, 20 - Cam Dolan, 21 - Lewis Jones, 22 - Gareth Anscombe, 23 - Matthew Morgan.

I had 12 out of starting 15 right, how did others do?

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