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Cardiff Blues v Harlequins preview: Blues to pay tribute to ex-player Lomu

  • Cardiff Blues face Harlequins in Round Two of the European Challenge Cup on Thursday
  • The hosts are top of Pool 3 following their 50-9 demolition of Calvisano last week
  • Blues will remember their former player Jonah Lomu before kick-off
USA international Blaine Scully will make his home debut for Cardiff Blues in Thursday night’s European Rugby Challenge Cup clash with Harlequins at Cardiff Arms Park.

Scully, who has 29 caps for the country of his birth, joined Blues from Leicester Tigers in the summer and is set to start at fullback while prop Taufa’ao Filise replaces Dillon Lewis in the front row in the other notable switch.

In the visiting camp, Harlequins have made wholesale changes the starting line-up which beat Montpellier last week with eight fresh faces coming in for the club’s second European game of the season.

Full-back Ollie Lindsay-Hague and winger Charlie Walker are named in Harlequins’ back three, as fly-half Ben Botica makes his first start of the season for Quins.

Hooker Rob Buchanan and back row James Chisholm also make their first starts of the season, and Jack Clifford captains the side from openside flanker.

The Blues are top of Pool 3 following their 50-9 demolition of rank outsiders Calvisano in Italy last week, while tomorrow’s visitors were just as impressive last time out as they eased past Montpellier 41-18 at The Stoop on Thursday.

Blues will pay tribute to former player Jonah Lomu before kick-off. The former New Zealand winger and global icon, who came out of retirement to make ten appearances for the region during the 2005/06 season, died suddenly lt aged 40.


RUCK PREDICTS

With Quins boss John Kingston opting for significant changes tomorrow night, Cardiff, who are close to full strength, come into the game as favourites as they look to pull up a substantial early lead at the top of Pool three. But Quins, with the likes of Ollie Lindsay-Hague and Ben Botica coming in, look set to be competitive as their fringe players fight to earn a regular place in the squad. Cardiff Blues by 10.


PLAYERS TO WATCH
Cardiff Blues: Blaine Scully

The USA man is something of a trailblazer in Rugby Union as one of few American nationals to have made a foray into Europe in search of top-level Rugby. The California-born 27-year-old proved to be a solid if unspectacular asset at Leicester where he notched up 30 points in 35 appearances in a two-year spell with the Welford Road outfit. His performances caught the attention of Blues chief Danny Wilson, and he made the switch to south Wales in the summer, where he will be looking to take both the Pro12 and European stage by storm, starting tomorrow.


Harlequins: Ollie Lindsay-Hague

The man who finished off one of the tries of the season last week, Lindsay-Hague, 25, has been handed a great opportunity by John Kingston to prove his worth tomorrow night. With just 79 minutes of game time to his name this year, the one-club man, a veteran of just 22 career starts in four years, will travel to south Wales hoping to stake his claim for a regular starting place under Kingston.


Cardiff Blues: Blaine Scully, Alex Cuthbert, Rey Lee-Lo, Gavin Evans, Tom James, Rhys Patchell, Lloyd Williams; Gethin Jenkins (c), Kristian Dacey, Taufa’ao Filise, Jarrad Hoeata, James Down, Ellis Jenkins, Sam Warburton, Josh Turnbull.
Replacements: Matthew Rees, Sam Hobbs, Dillon Lewis, Lou Reed, Manoa Vosawai, Tavis Knoyle, Jarrod Evans, Dan Fish
Harlequins: Ollie Lindsay-Hague; Charlie Walker, Matt Hopper, Harry Sloan, Tim Visser; Ben Botica, Karl Dickson; Mark Lambert, Rob Buchanan, Kyle Sinckler, Charlie Matthews, Sam Twomey, James Chisholm, Jack Clifford (c), Nick Easter.
Replacements: Joe Gray, Joe Marler, Will Collier, Kieran Treadwell, Dave Ward, Danny Care, Winston Stanley, Tim Swiel.

Date: Thursday, November 19th

Venue: Cardiff Arms Park
Kick off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Alexander Ruiz (France)
Assistant Referees: Laurent Cardona (France), Arnaud Blondel (France)
TMO: Jean-Marie Piraveau (France)
Citing Commissioner: Francesco Grillo (Italy)


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