European Challenge Cup: Cardiff Blues v Toulouse (Sun)


Gethin Jenkins has won 129 caps for Wales, a record
European Challenge Cup
Venue: Cardiff Arms Park Date: Sunday, 14 January Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Coverage: Live BBC Radio Wales and BBC Five Live Sports Extra commentary online and the BBC Sport app

Veteran prop Gethin Jenkins leads Cardiff Blues in the European Challenge cup against Toulouse on Sunday as Ellis Jenkins starts at seven after injury.

Rhys Gill and Olly Robinson make way as Blues aim to boost their bid to reach the knock-out stages.

Gareth Anscombe switches to full-back with Jarrod Evans at 10 because Matthew Morgan is out injured.

Garyn Smith, Tomos Williams, hooker Matthew Rees, prop Taufa’ao Filise and lock George Earle are all recalled.

In the wake of their 11-10 French Top 14 defeat at Pau last Sunday, Toulouse have made nine starting changes.

The French club go into the weekend third behind leaders Blues and second-placed Lyon with five points to make up on the Welsh team in the last two Pool 2 fixtures.

For Blues, Smith takes over at centre from Rey Lee-Lo, Tomos Williams replaces Lloyd Williams, Kristian Dacey makes way for Rees with Anton Peikrishvili out as Filise returns and Earle’s recall comes at the expense of benched Damian Welch.

Jarrod Evans was at fly-half when Cardiff Blues won in Toulouse in October, 2017

Wales flanker Jenkins is making his first start of the season after tearing a hamstring in pre-season.

Namesake Gethin’s season has also been disrupted by a calf injury and recent facial blow.

But the 37-year-old Wales and British and Irish Lions loose-head is back to lead Blues as they bid for a double over a Toulouse team who find themselves in the unusual role of second-tier European competitors.

Head coach Danny Wilson says Blues’ 17-15 win in France in round two in October is among the highlight of a tenure that will end at the conclusion of this campaign.

“We’ve picked a team with a bit of strength and experience in the front-five but with plenty of attacking talent to play the rugby required to beat a team like Toulouse,” said Wilson

“We’re top of our group, it’s a home game against Toulouse and, personally, it’s one of those big ones which people come out to watch.

Pro14 highlights: Ospreys 29-28 Cardiff Blues

“A home game in Europe, at this stage, against the giants of Toulouse is a massive game, full stop, but to play it in the circumstances we’re in, having beaten them away from home which is one of our biggest wins in my time here, is exciting.

“We have to back it up by beating them at home. We know their squad is phenomenal and they’ve got some superstars in there, but we know what’s at stake for us.”

Toulouse are fifth in France’s top tier with eight wins from 15 starts while Blues are fourth in Pro14 Conference A with five wins from 13 games.

Cardiff Blues: Gareth Anscombe; Alex Cuthbert, Garyn Smith, Willis Halaholo, Owen Lane; Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Gethin Jenkins (capt), Matthew Rees, Taufa’ao Filise, George Earle, Josh Turnbull, Josh Navidi, Ellis Jenkins, Nick Williams.

Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Brad Thyer, Dillon Lewis, Damian Welch, Macauley Cook, Lloyd Williams, Steve Shingler, Blaine Scully.

Toulouse: Thomas Ramos; Cheslin Kolbe, Jarrod Poi, Gael Fickou, Sofiane Guitoune; Jean-Marc Doussain, Sébastien Bézy; Clément Castets, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Charlie Faumuina, Florian Verhaeghe, Richie Gray, Semi Kunatani, Louis Madaule, Joe Tekori

Replacements: David Roumieu, Maxime Duprat, Piula Faasalele, Carl Axtens, Rynhardt Elstadt, Antoine Dupont, Paul Perez, Maks Van Dyk.

Referee: Ian Tempest (England)

Assistant referees: Hamish Smales (England), Wayne Falla (England)

TMO: Sean Davey (England)

Citing commissioner: Paul Burke (England)

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