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Who To Pick?

By Craig Muncey
September 21 2016

Saturday night sees the Cardiff Blues travel to Parma to take on Zebre.  This encounter has seen Cardiff Blues slip up a few times in the past, but after a very encouraging start to this campaign, expectations are high. 3 wins from 3 against Edinburgh, Munster and Glasgow respectively have given the fans and the staff real confidence.  In terms of team selection, this piece looks at the decision Danny Wilson has, in terms of getting the correct balance of the team to get a victory against a team who after what occurred last weekend, when leading 22-10 at half time against Connacht, had the game abandoned due to the weather, will be keen to turn on a similar performance and take out the frustration from that game, on the Cardiff Blues.   

Cardiff Blues have played Zebre 8 times in the Pro 12 League, losing on three occasions, including the last two visits Cardiff Blues have made to Italy, so will be very keen not to suffer another loss, and continue their very impressive start to the season.

The coaching staff will need to make a decision on whether they use this match to rest a few players who may have picked up niggling injuries, or continue on with the current team selection with exception of those ruled out with injuries, and look to keep the momentum going and try to gain a convincing victory. 

My own opinion on this is that Cardiff Blues now are in a position of having strength in depth in a number of positions, and even though I am not underestimating Zebre, I believe Cardiff Blues have the personnel to rest some of the players who played last Friday and some of those who have played a part in all three league matches to date and still gain a convincing victory in Parma.  There is a number of key matches coming up in next few weeks, Leinster, Bristol and Ospreys, which potentially could be very tough encounters, two of those being away, I would take the opportunity to give some the match off, or at least limited game time.

For an away match in Italy I would go a bit heavier in the pack, as will be an arm wrestle at times, and will need an extra bit of physicality. Set pieces and contact areas will be a very competitive area, and Cardiff Blues will need to earn the right to play an expansive game, which based on the season to date, they certainly can play, and will be dangerous to all in this league.

So taking all this into account, here is my matchday squad for the game.

Cardiff Blues v Zebre

15. Dan Fish

14. Blaine Scully

13. Garyn Smith

12. Rey Leelo

11. Tom James

10. Steven Shingler

9. Lloyd Williams

1. Rhys Gill

2. Matthew Rees

3. Scott Andrews

4. Jarrad Hoeata

5. James Down

6. Josh Turnbull

7. Josh Navidi (c)

8. Nick Williams


Matthew Morgan, Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams, Gethin Jenkins, Kristian Dacey, Dillon Lewis, Macauley Cook, Ellis Jenkins


Zebre 12 Cardiff Blues 29


Craig Muncey



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Who To Pick?
Discussion started by 1876 Cardiff Rugby , 21/09/2016 09:19
1876 Cardiff Rugby
21/09/2016 09:19
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
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21/09/2016 13:53
Be surprised if we could get away with starting with Andrews at tight head; think Zebra are pretty strong come scrum time.

21/09/2016 13:55
Good news: Its dry in Parma this weekend. Connacht were playing that big Zebre pack in a storm.

But Im still not sure about starting Andrews. This would be a very good weekend for Dillon Lewis to come back.

I'd be quite interested to see how Shingler goes at 12 with Evans at 10.

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