Preview: Cardiff Blues v Southern Kings

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The mini set of Guinness Pro14 fixtures that take place during the Six Nations comes to a close on Saturday night at the Arms Park.

Cardiff Blues welcome Southern Kings of Port Elizabeth to the Welsh capital for the first time ever, looking for a big win to cap off what would be a fine three weeks for John Mulvihill’s men.

Two losing bonus points against Glasgow and a fantastic comeback win over Edinburgh last week have seen us pull away from Cheetahs and jump Ospreys and Connacht to sit third in Conference A.

With Ospreys and Connacht playing each other, and Cheetahs away to Leinster, there is a great chance for Cardiff Blues to really cement ourselves in the driving seat to secure that final play-off spot and the all-important Heineken Champions Cup qualification.

Jason Harries Edinburgh
Jason Harries grabbed a brace against Edinburgh

Kings are currently bottom of the Pro14’s Conference B, below Dragons courtesy of having fewer wins, with 19 points to their name.

They have conceded the most points of anyone, 495, and conceded more tries than anyone else, 71, meaning they conceded an average of 33 points and 4.7 tries per game.

In terms of the opposition pretty much all names will be new to the Arms Park faithful, with the exception of Sarel Pretorius who only returned to South Africa from the Dragons last summer.

Southern Kings: Ulrich Beyers; Yaw Penxe, Meli Rokoua, Tertius Kruger, Bjorn Basson, Bader Pretorius, Sarel Pretorius; Alulotho Tshakweni, Michael Willemse, De-Jay Terblanche, John-Charles Astle (c), Henry Brown, Martinus Burger, Andisa Ntsila

Replacements: Alandre van Rooyen, Schalk Ferreira, Lupumlo Mguca, Stephan Greef, Stephan De Wit, Rudi van Rooyen, Nerton Lassen, Masixole Banda

John Mulvihill on the other hand has made five changes to his team that beat Edinburgh last week.

Brad Thyer and Scott Andrews come into the front row, and Macauley Cook slots into the second row.

In the backs Harri Millard returns at outside centre, while Aled Summerhill switches to full-back after impressing there in the second half last weekend and Jason Harries comes onto the wing.

Cardiff Blues: Aled Summerhill; Owen Lane, Harri Millard, Willis Halaholo, Jason Harries, Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Brad Thyer, Liam Belcher, Scott Andrews, George Earle, Macauley Cook, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Olly Robinson, Nick Williams (c)

Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Corey Domachowski, Keiron Assiratti, Rory Thornton, Seb Davies, Tomos Williams, Garyn Smith, Matthew Morgan

Macauley Cook Munster
Macauley Cook starts in the second row

A team that is certainly strong enough to secure a try bonus point win if they get it right on the day, and if we want to push for the play-offs that should be the aim.

It’ll be fast and open, no doubt, but if we retain an element of our structure and take try opportunities when they are presented we’ll gain the five points.

Come on Cardiff!


Cardiff Blues form: LWWLW

Kings form: LLLLL

Cardiff Blues top try scorer: Rey Lee-Lo (8)

Kings top try scorer: Bjorn Basson (4)

Cardiff Blues top points scorer: Gareth Anscombe (140)

Kings top points scorer: Masixole Banda (49)

Ref Watch

Joy Neville (IRE) – The former Irish international’s first visit to Cardiff Arms Park. Has four games in the middle this season with two yellows and a red card shown.

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