Blues fans head to Paris ahead of the Heineken Cup match against Racing Metro

Cardiff Blues travel to Paris on Friday to face a star studded Racing Metro side. The rugby season is set to explode into life across Europe as the 17th Heineken Cup takes centre stage with all roads leading to the final at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, 19 May, 2012.

With the match against Dragons being postponed last Friday night, the Blues had to change their preparation this week. Speaking ahead of the trip to France, Cardiff Blues forwards coach Justin Burnell said, “Due to the cancelled game, on Monday morning we had two XV’s playing against each other, which was interesting. It was an eye opener with the XV that was due to play against the Dragons playing against another XV.

“There was some good match up’s so selection has been very difficult. Obviously having the game against Dragons postponed wasn’t ideal. A lot of players have performed fantastically for us during the opening of the PRO12 so it would have been good to mix them with the World Cup players.”

“The Welsh players have come back from a very successful campaign and they showed they are some of the best players in the world. Physically and mentally they are ready for the Heineken Cup.”

Looking at the strength of the Racing Metro side Burnell added, “When you play a French team first up, on their own patch, it is perhaps the most difficult game of the pool. However, we have got the mindset that we have to perform and win the game.

“They are typically French, in so much as they have good set piece, strong scrum, one second row doesn’t jump and is 120kilos and an outstanding kicking outside half. It will be a massive physical battle, that’s what we’re planning for and working towards.”

Starting XV:
15 Chris Czekaj
14 Alex Cuthbert
13 Casey Laulala
12 Jamie Roberts
11 Tom James
10 Dan Parks
9 Lloyd Williams
8 Xavier Rush
7 Sam Warburton
6 Michael Paterson
5 James Down
4 Bradley Davies
3 Taufa’ao Filise
2 T Rhys Thomas (c)
1 Gethin Jenkins

16 Marc Breeze
17 John Yapp
18 Scott Andrews
19 Paul Tito
20 Andries Pretorius
21 Richie Rees
22 Ceri Sweeney
23 Gavin Evans

Injury Update: The Blues have been dealt a blow with the news that Deiniol Jones will be out for 8 to 10 weeks with a shoulder injury.

The Blues are also without the following players due to injury:
Deiniol Jones – shoulder
Leigh Halfpenny – foot
Martyn Williams – wrist
Gavin Henson – wrist
Kristian Dacey – shoulder