Copeland back in action in old Arms stomping ground

Robin Copeland. Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Robin Copeland’s return to the BT Cardiff Arms Park where he enjoyed two highly successful years before linking up with Munster this season and the first appearance of Argentine international Luis Gonzalez Amorosino on the wing for Cardiff Blues adds considerable interest to this evening’s Guinness Pro12 clash.

Munster lie 4th with 19 points, 12 ahead of Cardiff (10th) but with both sides making wholesale changes, predicting the outcome is far from easy. Coach Anthony Foley has 11 changes from the side that started against Saracens in the European Champions Cup and there are seven alterations to the Cardiff line-up that beat Italian side Rovigo in the Challenge Cup.

Copeland comes into the Munster side at number eight with man of the moment CJ Stander moving to the blind side of the scrum. Paddy Butler slots in at number seven while the side is captained by Donncha O’Callaghan who packs down in the second-row alongside Billy Holland. With prop James Cronin set to be sidelined for six weeks, the return after illness of John Ryan could hardly be more timely. JJ Hanrahan has the chance to make his mark at out-half while Rory Scannell, a member of the academy, has his first outing in the centre while Andrew Conway has been released from the Irish squad to continue on the right wing.

Cardiff hope 28 year-old Amorosino, who has 37 Argentine caps and has represented French club Oyonnax, Leicester and Montpellier in recent years, will add punch to a side that has struggled in the Pro12 with a single win from six outings.

CARDIFF BLUES: R Patchell; R Smith, A Thomas, G Evans, L Amorosino; G Davies, L Williams; S Hobbs, M Rees capt, A Jones, J Hoeata, F Paulo, J Turnbull, J Navidi, M Vosawi.

Replacements: K Dacey, T Davies, T Filise, M Cook, E Jenkins, L Jones, G Smith, D Fish

MUNSTER: J Murphy; A Conway, A Smith, R Scannell, G Van den Heever; JJ Hanrahan, D Williams; J Ryan, K O’Byrne, BJ Bohea, D O’Callaghan capt, B Holland, C J Stander, P Butler, R Copeland.

Replacements: E Gwinazu, A Cotter, S Archer, S McCarthy, B O’Mahony, C Sheridan, J Holland, R O’Mahony.

Referee: M Mitrea (Italy).


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