Cardiff Blues travel to Dublin to play a Leinster side whose only defeat in any competition since the opening weekend of the new season came at Connacht in round four of the RaboDirect PRO12.
The Heineken Cup champions’ only defeat at the RDS in their last ten regular season PRO12 fixtures was to Ospreys on 23 March.
The Blues have won both of their away games in the competition, so far this season, at Connacht and the Dragons, but have slipped to back-to-back defeats in the PRO12 to Ulster and Glasgow.
There are two changes in the backs from the team that started against Toulon last Sunday. Dafydd Hewitt starts at centre in place of Gavin Evans who took a knock against the French side and Jason Tovey starts at outside half in place of Ceri Sweeney who moves to the bench.
There are also two changes in the pack. Scott Andrews starts in the front row in place of Benoit Bourrust who left the field on Sunday with a calf injury while James Down replaces Lou Reed in the second row, who also moves to the bench.
Speaking ahead of the match, Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby Phil Davies said,
“To win a Heineken Cup, like they have in the last four years, their strength speaks for itself.
“They’ve got a pretty multi faceted team.
“Their kicking game is well established, their set-piece and their ability to be direct is well established, as is their wide game. So they’ve got a pretty much all round game.
“That is what you need, to be as successful as they’ve been in Europe over the last three or four years.
“So, we’ve got a big job on our hand and for me the break down is going to be the main area of battle.
“We’ve got to be red hot both in attack and defence.”
Cardiff Blues 15 Leigh Halfpenny 14 Alex Cuthbert 13 Dafydd Hewitt 12 Jamie Roberts 11 Tom James 10 Jason Tovey 9 Lloyd Williams
8 Andries Pretorius (c) 7 Sam Warburton 6 Josh Navidi 5 James Down 4 Bradley Davies 3 Scott Andrews 2 Marc Breeze 1 Tafa’ao Filise
16 Rhys Willimas17 Nathan Trevett 18 Campese ma’afu 19 Lou Reed 20 Robin Copeland 21 Lewis Jones 22 Ceri Sweeney 23 Tom Williams
Not available for selection
Harry Robinson – joining the Wales team
Benoit Bourrust – calf – mid November
Jake Cooper-Woolley: ACL reconstruction expected return in April
Chris Czekaj – foot – expected return December/January
Ryan Harford – neck surgery first game back playing for Cardiff RFC on 27 October
Michael Paterson – recovering from shoulder injury – available for LV matches
Rhys Patchell- shoulder injury – available for LV matches
Sam Hobbs – injured ACL available for the Munster match
Tom Davies – ACL reconstruction 1 week ago – expected return 6 months
Rory Watts-Jones – MCL injury – expected return 4-6 weeks