RaboDirect PRO12
Munster out to continue winning run
ESPNscrum Staff
September 22, 2011
Cardiff Blues forward Ma'ama Molitika brushes past the challenge of the Bath defence during their Anglo-Welsh Cup clash at Cardiff Arms Park in Cardiff, Wales on October 31, 2008.
Maama Molitika is back in the Cardiff side for Friday's clash with Munster © Getty Images

League leaders Munster travel to Cardiff on Friday evening in the pick of this weekend's RaboDirect PRO12 clashes.

The Blues have suffered a huge blow this week with the news that veteran flanker Martyn Williams has suffered a broken arm and his absence is one of seven changes from the side which lost to Ulster last Friday. Chris Czekaj and Tom James are forced to miss out due to a shoulder and calf injury respectively with Maama Molitika coming back into the side in place of the crocked Williams.

Cardiff face a tough ask against Munster who have continued their title winning form from last term thus far in the 2011-12 season. Munster coach Tony McGahan has opted to make six changes from the side which recorded a bonus point win over the Scarlets last weekend with Danny Barnes and Duncan Williams coming into the backline. Elsewhere Wian du Preez steps in for Marcus Horan with Mick O'Driscoll, Stephen Archer and Tommy O'Donnell also taking spots in the starting line-up. Despite Munster's good form - history has traditionally been on Cardiff's side in this fixture with the Blues winning all of their clashes in Cardiff bar one with their Irish counterparts since November 2005.

In other clashes on Friday, Connacht take on the Newport Gwent-Dragons and Glasgow entertain Treviso in Scotland. One notable inclusion is Geraint O'Driscoll in the Newport team with the Pontypool back making his debut for the Dragons due to the growing injury toll in Darren Edwards' side. And the coach is looking forward to seeing O'Driscoll in action. "We have always said that the future for the Dragons is by looking first within the region," said Edwards. "The regions' circumstances have always made it necessary to look to the Academy and Premiership to support our squad and with some real success stories over the past few years.

"Players such as Lloyd Burns, Andrew Coombs and Adam Hughes all kicked off their regional careers coming from the Premiership and have proven to be strong members of our squad. Geraint has a proven track record for Pontypool and his level of experience and game time should enable him to step up to regional level."

On Saturday winless Aironi entertain Edinburgh while the Scarlets take on Heineken Cup champions Leinster at the Parc Y Scarlets. Leinster have had a woeful start to their 2011-12 campaign winning just once in their first three clashes and lost out to Glasgow in Dublin last weekend. The Scarlets have a similar record thus far with one win from three and they will hope to prevail in front of their home crowd after losing heavily to Munster on Saturday.

The weekend's action is completed on Sunday with the Ospreys taking on Ulster at the Liberty Stadium. Both teams are three from three in the opening stages of the season so something will have to give in Swansea.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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