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Cardiff to give Matt Blues

'The Champions Are Coming.' This is the heading from the Cardiff Blues marketing department for their latest PRO12 League match. You might call it a unique selling point.

It is really a story about points, as always, and two props as Gethin Jenkins makes his 150th appearance for Cardiff and Marty Moore makes his first of the season for Leinster.

This completes the circle of years at Cardiff Blues for the British & Irish Lion seeing as though he made his debut against Leinster all the way back in September 2004.

MILESTONE

The significance of this milestone will fade away from the first whistle and Cardiff Director of Rugby Mark Hammett has set the tone for a collective effort from his Blues.

"Leinster have set the benchmark for many clubs in European rugby and will arrive at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park full of confidence and with a talented squad," he said.

"They are powerful in the set piece and look to keep the ball in hand and alive when they attack. When they are defending they use the choke tackle to really put pressure on.

"Our contact work will have to go up another notch and we need to work hard in both attack and defence, if we are to secure an important result."

Coach Matt O'Connor has thrown Moore straight back into the deep end by locking him head-to-head against Jenkins with Adam Jones packing down on the other side of the front row for the home club.

This is a gauge of the faith scrum coach Marco Caputo has in Moore as a scrummager who can make it unpleasant for Jenkins, a tall order at 6'2".

"The advantage Marty has that the other tight-heads don't have is his shape, the fact that he is square and low and has a low centre of gravity," said Caputo.

"Under the new scrum laws that gives him a big advantage. He's just starting to work that out.

"That is where we will get real value out of Marty, just being able to use his body shape and scrummage at a height that other scrums aren't comfortable going with and just being really effective in that area.

"He's a good footballer, he does all the bits in and around the ball; carry the ball make his tackles but for us we'll get best value out of Marty if he uses his body shape."

Leinster have been careful to gradually introduce Tadhg Furlong to the rigours of top level scrummaging.

The Wexford man has not started against a real powerhouse scrum yet. His time to be truly tested will come.

It is in the back row where Leinster will have to break even to take away all the points.

Cardiff look particularly potent there with Wales captain Sam Warburton supported by the competent Josh Turnbull and Josh Navidi.

Leinster have gone with the in-form, inexperienced Jack Conan at number eight, the improving Jordi Murphy and recovered Dominic Ryan.

The presence of Warburton has prompted the advance of Murphy and Ryan as two able operators on the floor, out to minimise the influence of the 2013 British & Irish Lions captain.

DUEL

Ian Madigan has been demoted to the bench with Jimmy Gopperth given the go-ahead to duel it out with another New Zealander Gareth Anscombe in what will be a pivotal match-up.

The son of former Ulster coach Mark Anscombe is beginning to find his feet as an all-round footballer and sharp goal-kicker.

The progressive Luke McGrath will wear the number nine jersey as Eoin Reddan will have to wait for the call from the bench beside Madigan.

The centre combination of skilled Noel Reid and powerful Ben Te'o, making a second start in his third appearance, brings all sorts of possibilities.

Cardiff blues: J Tuculet; A Cuthbert, C Allen, G Evans, L Amorosino; G Anscombe, T Knoyle; G Jenkins (capt), K Dacey, A Jones, L Reed, F Paulo, J Turnbull, S Warburton, J Navidi.

Leinster: R Kearney (capt); F McFadden, B Te'o, N Reid, D Kearney; J Gopperth, L McGrath; M Bent, S Cronin, M Moore, T Denton, K Douglas, D Ryan, J Murphy, J Conan.

Verdict: Cardiff

It is in the back row where Leinster will have to break even to take away all the points. Cardiff look particularly potent there with Wales captain Sam Warburton supported by the competent Josh Turnbull and Josh Navidi.


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