Mulvihill hands Anscombe Blues 10 role


Cardiff Blues were beaten by Benetton last weekend – their second loss of the season
Guinness Pro14: Zebrev Cardiff Blues
Venue: Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi Date: Saturday, 15 September Kick-off: 19:35 BST
Coverage: Live score updates on the BBC Sport website

Cardiff Blues have made six changes for Saturday’s Pro14 game at Zebre as they bid for their first win of the season.

Gareth Anscombe starts at fly-half with Tomos Williams at scrum-half while centre Garyn Smith is handed his first competitive start of the season.

Josh Navidi starts at number eight and Olly Robinson, who captains the team, is openside flanker, while prop Dillon Lewis returns.

Zebe have made four changes to the side who lost at Connacht.

Head coach John Mulvihill says Saturday’s fixture is a must-win game.

John Mulvihill succeeded Danny Wilson as Cardiff Blues head coach

Blues have yet to win this season following defeats to Pro14 and European champions Leinster and last weekend at Benetton.

Mulvihill says he is still disappointed after losing in the final minute in Treviso last weekend.

“We were in front for most of the game and to finish off like the way we did, we weren’t happy with that,” the Australian said.

“It was a tough one to swallow.

“It’s not the end of the world but it’s another game we should have won and we need to learn from those mistakes and make sure we get a good performance this weekend.

“There’s no excuses – we have to win on Saturday night.”

Zebre began the season with a convincing win at home against Southern Kings but lost in Connacht last weekend.

There is one change in the backs with centre Tommaso Boni starting for the first time this season, while three alterations in the forwards seeing hooker Massimo Ceciliani, prop Dario Chistolini and back-rower Jimmy Tuivaiti all included.

Blues won 10-7 the last time the sides met in February 2018 and the Welsh side have won nine of the previous 12 encounters.

Zebre: Edoardo Padovani; Mattia Bellini, Giulio Bisegni, Tommaso Boni, Giovanbattista Venditti; Carlo Canna, Marcello Violi; Andrea Lovotti, Massimo Ceciliani, Dario Chistolini, David Sisi, George Biagi (capt), Jimmy Tuivaiti, Renato Giammarioli, Johan Meyer

Replacements: Oliviero Fabiani, Daniele Rimpelli, Giosué Zilocchi, Apisai Tauyavuca, Giovanni Licata, Guglielmo Palazzani, Francois Brummer, Tommaso Castello

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Jason Harries, Garyn Smith, Rey Lee-Lo, Owen Lane; Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams; Brad Thyer, Kristian Dacey, Dillon Lewis, George Earle, Rory Thornton, Josh Turnbull, Olly Robinson (capt), Josh Navidi

Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Rhys Carre, Dmitri Arhip, Macauley Cook, Nick Williams, Lloyd Williams, Jarrod Evans, Harri Millard.

Referee: George Clancy (IRFU)

Assistant referees: Johnny Erskine (IRFU); Matteo Liperini (FIR)

TMO: Stefano Roscini (FIR)

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