Storylines: Cardiff Blues

Storylines: Cardiff Blues

Edinburgh Rugby travel to face Cardiff Blues tonight in a must-win Conference B encounter.

There are the storylines to look out for as we approach the 8pm kick-off at Cardiff Arms Park.

Savala starts

With young fly-half Nathan Chamberlain failing a late fitness test in the build-up to tonight's clash, an even younger stand-off - Charlie Savala - is handed his pro debut.

Savala, 20 - who impressed in January's 'A' match-up with Glasgow Warriors - made the move from Australian Rugby League side Sydney Roosters last October.

Born in Sydney, Savala qualifies for Scotland through his Ayr-born father, while his grandmother still lived in Ayr until moving to Australia this year.

Head Coach Richard Cockerill has backed Savala to shine, and ahead of tonight's match-up said:

"Nathan was really good last week and we would have loved him to back that up, but he hurt his ankle in the game and he’s not quite recovered.

“So Charlie gets his opportunity and he’s been training hard. He had 40 minutes of the second-team game [against Glasgow] a few weeks ago. He’s been looking forward to getting his opportunity and he gets it this Monday night."

The King returns

Edinburgh are boosted the by the return of Scotland international Blair Kinghorn, who goes straight in to the starting XV, but in the sightly less familiar position of wing [No.14].

The back-three playmaker has been out for over a month with a wrist injury sustained while on Scotland duty and will be raring to go having featured in only four Edinburgh Rugby games so far this campaign.

The rangy runner has fond memories of Arms Park and crossed the whitewash at the famous old ground in Richard Cockerill's first-ever game with the club - a 10-20 victory in September 2017.

Kunavula gets his chance

Edinburgh's back-row features not one, but two Fijian internationals as Mesu Kunavula starts at blindside flanker, alongside talismanic No.8, Bill Mata.

This will be only Kunavula's sixth appearance for the capital side, but the skilful forward has so far impressed in limited game time.

The back-row featured from the bench in last weekend's dramatic win over Connacht and his tough carrying and support in the loose showcased his ability to make an impact.

The quick surface at Arms Park should suit the Fijian's playing style to a tee.


Tonight's clash is must-win for both sides as Edinburgh and Cardiff look to make a push for a top-three spot.

The Blues sit three points behind Scarlets, who welcome Connacht to Parc y Scarlets at the same time, while Edinburgh are 10 adrift but do have two games in hand.

Victory for Scarlets would end Cardiff's hopes irrespective of whether they beat Edinburgh, who must win and seek a favour from Connacht to stay in the hunt to snatch third place.

Both teams head into the game on the back of away wins last weekend, with Cardiff prevailing 29-14 at Benetton and Edinburgh snatching a dramatic 15-14 victory at Connacht.

Happy hunting ground

Edinburgh will take much encouragement from their recent record against Cardiff having been victorious in their last three meetings.

The capital side have also triumphed on their previous two trips to the Arms Park and have won on each of their last four visits to Wales.

Both of their wins since early January have come on the road - at Zebre and Connacht - and they beat the Blues 18-0 when they last met at BT Murrayfield in November.

Following two successive defeats, Cardiff kept alive their top-three aspirations by winning in Treviso last Sunday and know victory here, coupled with restricting their visitors to a maximum of one bonus point, would ensure they finish above the Scottish club.

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