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After a great opening weekend for the Welsh regions in Round 1 of the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup competitions attention now turns to Round 2 fixtures this weekend. With strong teams all round, this weekend of rugby is set to be an exciting one.

Blues

Back row Josh Navidi will captain Cardiff Blues as they face Femi-CZ Rugby Rovigo in Round 2 of the European Rugby Challenge Cup this Saturday afternoon in Italy (kick-off 3pm local time).

Navidi is one of eight changes made by Director of Rugby Mark Hammett for the game at Stadio Mario Battaglini as Blues look to back-up the convincing opening round bonus point victory over Grenoble with another win.

Cardiff Blues: Rhys Patchell, Richard Smith, Cory Allen, Adam Thomas, Dan Fish, Gareth Davies, Lloyd Williams; Gethin Jenkins, Kristian Dacey, Scott Andrews, Chris Dicomidis, Macauley Cook, Josh Turnbull, Josh Navidi (c), Manoa Vosawai

Replacements: Rhys Williams, Thomas Davies, Adam Jones, Filo Paulo, Ellis Jenkins, Lewis Jones, Gavin Evans, Geraint Walsh

 

Dragons

Versatile Dragons second row, James Thomas, gets the nod from Lyn Jones to make his first European start, against Newcastle Falcons at Rodney Parade this evening.

The 24-year old is amongst three changes made from the team that won a bonus point against in the historic win against Stade Francais in Paris last weekend.

The front row takes on a slightly different shape as it includes props Boris Stankovich and Dan Way, alongside hooker Elliot Dee. The second row sees the inclusion of James Thomas who replaces Andrew Coombs. Thomas plays alongside Rynard Landman in the second row with Lewis Evans, Nic Cudd and Taulupe Faletau all keeping their spots in the back row.

Newport Gwent Dragons team are to face Newcastle Falcons at Rodney Parade, Friday October 24 (19.30)

Newport Gwent Dragons: Lee Byrne (c), Matthew Pewtner, Tom Prydie, Ashley Smith, Hallam Amos, Angus O’Brien, Richie Rees; Boris Stankovich, Elliot Dee, Dan Way, James Thomas, Rynard Landman, Lewis Evans, Nic Cudd, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: T. Rhys Thomas, Phil Price, Lloyd Fairbrother, Andrew Coombs, Andy Powell, Jonathan Evans, Dorian Jones, Aled Brew.

 

Ospreys

The Ospreys team will face Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens, on Saturday 25th October 2014, KO at 5.15pm.

 

Head Coach, Steve Tandy, commented: “The European Cup is all about testing yourself against the very best, and that’s what we are up against this weekend. We’re talking about English champions and current Premiership leaders, with quality and experience right throughout the team, so we know that we are in for a tough 80 minutes.

 

“This group of players will fight for the jersey and fight for each other, to the very last whistle, you can guarantee that. There is a quiet confidence in the team at the moment, which is understandable with the way they’ve been growing together on and off the field, and they’ll go to Northampton believing that if they put together their very best game then we are in with a chance. That is the key, it will have to be their very best.

 

“We are going to have be disciplined, relentless and accurate in everything we do, from the very first whistle. It’s going to be a rough ride but we’re looking forward to it.”

Ospreys: Dan Evans, Jeff Hassler, Andrew Bishop, Josh Matavesi, Hanno Dirksen, Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb, Nicky Smith, Scott Baldwin, Dmitri Arhip, Lloyd Peers, Alun Wyn Jones (Capt), James King, Justin Tipuric, Joe Bearman

 

Replacements: Sam Parry, Duncan Jones, Aaron Jarvis, Rynier Bernardo, Morgan Allen, Sam Lewis, Martin Roberts, Sam Davies

 

Scarlets

The Scarlets will take on Leicester Tigers at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday 25th October in the second round of the European Rugby Champions Cup campaign.

Head Coach Wayne Pivac has named an unchanged XV showing belief and confidence in the young side that took Toulon to the wire at Stade Felix Mayol last week.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s clash against Leicester Tigers Pivac comments: “For us it’s about replicating that performance six days apart and backing up the performance over 80 minutes.

“The focus has got to be on replicating the energy levels and performance from last Sunday. If we can do that we’ll give ourselves a good chance.”

Scarlets: Liam Williams, Harry Robinson, Michael Tagicakibau, Scott Williams (captain), Kristian Phillips, Rhys Priestland, Aled Davies, Rob Evans, Emyr Phillips, Samson Lee, Jake Ball, Johan Snyman, Aaron Shingler, John Barclay, Rory Pitman.

 Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Phil John, Rhodri Jones, Lewis Rawlins James Davies, Rhodri Williams, Steven Shingler, Jordan Williams.