Cardiff RFC prepare for live showdown with the Gogs

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After a week off the Principality Premiership returns tonight with Cardiff RFC looking to extend their winning against RGC in front of the BBC Scrum V Live cameras.

You have to go back to the 22nd September to find the last time the Blue and Blacks fell to a defeat, as the side were suffering from a run of three losses in four games and even early in the season were looking perilously close to the bottom five of the league.

However, to the credit of the squad they have battled back and are now on a run of five straight wins, four of which have come with a try bonus point and include in them a very impressive away victory over Aberavon last time out.

Even including the 16 points scored against Bedwas in the middle of Storm Callum last month, Cardiff are scoring an average of 37 points per game in that five game period and currently sit fifth in the league, seven points off first place Merthyr.

Rory Pitman Cardiff RFC
Cardiff RFC won in a storm at Bedwas

This week the Blue and Blacks face arguably the toughest test of that run yet though, as Rygbi Gogledd Cymru make the brave trek down to South Wales after managing to field a team for a Friday night game.

Since arriving in the Premiership in 2016/17 RGC have had consecutive fourth-place finishes and won the WRU National Cup, with players such as Jacob Botica and Tiaan Loots moving up to the professional game with the Dragons.

In that time they are unbeaten against Cardiff with an accumulative 31-99 scoreline, with last season’s Easter Monday clash finishing 21-64 at the Arms Park.

However, this season they started slowly by their standards, currently sitting ninth with five wins and four losses. That comes after a tough mid-September which saw the Gogs lose to Ebbw Vale, Pontypridd and Merthyr in consecutive weeks, while there was also a surprise home loss at the hands of Newport.

A 40-7 home win over Bargoed last time out will be a confidence boost though and head coach Mark Jones brings a strong team down to the capital for tonight’s clash.

The starting XV is unchanged from that win two weeks ago, with Wales U20 tighthead Sam Wainwright in the front row alongside hooker Evan Yardley who was man-of-the-match at the Arms Park back in April.

Co-captain Tom Hughes has earned plaudits for his performances from outside centre this season and starts outside former Scarlets and Wales U20 fly-half Billy McBryde at 10.

RGC: Danny Cross, Iolo Evans, Tom Hughes (co-capt), Rhys Williams, Sam Jones, Billy McBryde, Efan Jones; Joe Simpson, Evan Yardley (co-capt), Sam Wainwright, Bryn Jones, Beau Williams, Andrew Williams, Will Bryan, Tim Grey

Replacements: George Roberts, Curtis Reynolds, Jordan Scott, Mei Parry, Dan Owen, Ilan Rowlands, Cam Davies, Aron Evans

Cardiff RFC head coach Steve Law has made five changes to his starting XV that won at Aberavon last time out, with four enforced as Callum Bradbury is injured, Rory Pitman has departed for a short-term contract at Doncaster and Ben Thomas and Max Llewelyn played for Cardiff Blues against Uruguay on Tuesday night.

James Murphy starts at lock and Morgan Allen is in at number eight after both playing for Crawshay’s Welsh last week, while Will Rees-Hole and Adam Jones team up in the centre.

The only selection decision sees Steffan Jones starting at fly-half, swapping places with Gareth Thompson who takes a seat on the bench. Tom Daley also comes in amongst the replacements.

Cardiff RFC: Ioan Davies, Joe Gatt, Adam Jones, Will Rees-Hole, Matthew Powell, Steffan Jones, Martin Roberts; Thomas Davies, Joey Tomlinson (c), Peter Lloyd, Miles Normandale, James Murphy, Luke Crocker, Zach O’Driscoll, Morgan Allen

Replacements: Fraser Young, Ian Jenkins, Kieron Brown, Sam Pailor, Tom Daley, Ross Pritchard, Gareth Thompson, Llywarch ap Myrddin

Thomas Davies Cardiff RFC
Thomas Davies starts at loosehead for Cardiff

With top place Merthyr taking on second place Pontypridd, and third place Ebbw Vale playing fourth place Llandovery, there is a chance that Cardiff could jump as high as second in the table with a win over RGC tonight.

It will take a big effort though as RGC regularly prove their superior fitness level in Premiership competition, and the Arms Park’s artificial surface suits their running style of play down to the ground.

The poor weather forecast should assist the Blue and Blacks, who have put teams to sword with the strength of the pack this season, and that will need to be the case again tonight if we are to impress live on Scrum V. Come on Cardiff!

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