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The four Welsh regions are looking forward to doing battle in another massive weekend of European cup rugby after they collected key points from crunch fixtures in Round 3.

As the knockout stages of the European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup draw closer two home games plus trips to England and France present vital opportunities for the regions to keep qualification chances alive in Round 4.

This big weekend of European action then leads into the thrilling festive derbies calendar as the regions get set to do battle against their near neighbours and rugby supporters across Wales get ready to celebrate our game.

Cardiff Blues

Milestone man Gavin Evans will make his 100th appearance for Cardiff Blues as the region face London Irish in Round 4 of the European Rugby Challenge Cup at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday (15.00).

Centre Evans joins the exclusive 100 Club as Blues look to maintain their impressive European form and all but secure their place in the quarter-finals of the competition with an away win after their unbeaten start in the competition.

Blues Director of Rugby Mark Hammett again names a strong side for the return of this fixture and makes just one change to the starting line-up to the side that defeated Irish 24-14 at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park last weekend.

Wales captain Sam Warburton makes a return to the starting line-up and takes the number seven jersey for the match in Reading as he looks to make his mark in Europe and help the region to secure their qualification for the latter stages of this season’s tournament.

Cardiff Blues team to play London Irish at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday (15.00):

Adam Thomas, Alex Cuthbert, Cory Allen, Gavin Evans, Richard Smith, Gareth Anscombe, Lloyd Williams; Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees (captain), Adam Jones, Filo Paulo, Josh Turnbull, Macauley Cook, Sam Warburton, Josh Navidi.

Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Sam Hobbs, Craig Mitchell, Ellis Jenkins,  Manoa Vosawai,  Lewis Jones, Gareth Davies, Dan Fish.

Newport Gwent Dragons

Newport Gwent Dragons Director of Rugby Lyn Jones has made six changes to his team for the second part of their European Rugby Challenge Cup double header against Bucharest Wolves at Rodney Parade this evening (19.30).

After grabbing a bouns point win against Bucharest in Romania last weekend the Dragons will look to maintain their strong position in Pool 3, knowing that another win will set them up nicely to clinch a quarter-final spot in for their last two group fixtures.

Welsh International Tom Prydie has moved from the wing to take on the position of fullback as Geraint Rhys Jones moves to the bench. Prydie is joined in the back three by wings Matthew Pewtner and Hallam Amos while the centre pairing remains the same as Ross Wardle and Ashley Smith retain their places. Flyhalf Jason Tovey also keeps his place in the halfbacks but is joined by scrum half Jonathan Evans.

Prop Phil Price gets the nod from Jones as Brok Harris moves across to tighthead and they are joined in the front row by hooker T. Rhys Thomas.

Newport Gwent Dragons team to play Bucharest Wolves at Rodney Parade this evening (19.30):

Tom Prydie, Matthew Pewtner, Ross Wardle, Ashley Smith, Hallam Amos, Jason Tovey, Jonathan Evans; Phil Price, T. Rhys Thomas, Brok Harris, Andrew Coombs, Cory Hill, James Thomas, Nic Cudd, Lewis Evans (captain).

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Owen Evans, Dan Way, Rynard Landman, Taulupe Faletau, Luc Jones, Dorian Jones, Geraint Rhys Jones.


The Ospreys face a trip to France on Saturday to play Racing Metro (17.15) as they go in the hunt for vital points to keep their European Rugby Champions Cup campaign alive and kicking.

Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy has made two changes to the side for their crunch return game on French soil, where the region must secure a losing bouns point at the very minimum in order to keep their European dreams alive.

Up front South African lock Rynier Bernardo replaces the injured Lloyd Peers, while Hanno Dirksen replaces Tom Grabham in the backs. With their internationals having had time to settle back in with the region after Autumn tests the Ospreys will look for their best result of the season to date in this tough French encounter.

Andrew Bishop returns to the Ospreys squad to take his place amongst the replacements alongside Wales Under-20 flanker Olly Cracknell, who will make his Ospreys debut if he comes on from the bench.

The Ospreys team to play Racing Metro at the MMArena on Saturday (17.15):

Dan Evans, Hanno Dirksen, Ashley Beck, Josh Matavesi, Eli Walker, Dan Biggar,Rhys Webb; Marc Thomas, Scott Baldwin, Dmitri Arhip, Rynier Bernardo, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), James King, Justin Tipuric, Tyler Ardron.

Replacements: Sam Parry, Gareth Thomas, Daniel Suter, Olly Cracknell, Sam Lewis, Martin Roberts, Sam Davies, Andrew Bishop.


Scarlets welcome Ulster Rugby to Parc y Scarlets on Sunday (17.15) in a must win European Rugby Champions Cup clash.

The second leg of the back-to-back clashes is an opportunity for Scarlets to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat at Kingspan Stadium and uphold their unbeaten home run in the European Rugby Champions Cup.

The starting XV features three changes to that of last Saturday with Kristian Phillips making a return on the wing, Rhodri Williams taking the scrum half mantle and Rob McCusker making a return at number eight.

Experienced back rower John Barclay hasn’t recovered from a thigh haematoma and veteran prop Phil John has undergone surgery to a longstanding knee problem, while captain Ken Owens and scrum half Gareth Davies are still on the long-term injured list. Meanwhile, recent signing Hadleigh Parkes takes his place on the bench will be handed his Scarlets debut if he comes onto the field on Sunday.

Scarlets team to take on Ulster Rugby at Parc y Scarlets on Sunday (17.15):

Liam Williams, Kristian Phillips, Regan King, Scott Williams (captain), Michael Tagicakibau, Rhys Priestland, Rhodri Williams; Rob Evans, Emyr Phillips, Samson Lee, Jake Ball, Johan Snyman, Aaron Shingler, James Davies, Rob McCusker.

Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Wyn Jones, Rhodri Jones, George Earle, Rory Pitman, Aled Davies, Steven Shingler, Hadleigh Parkes