MATCH PREVIEW | Cardiff Rugby v Sale Sharks

Your Sharks will come up against this season’s European Challenge Cup top try scorers when they face Cardiff Rugby in a round of 16 clash on Saturday (LIVE on BT Sport/S4C – KO 8pm).

Cardiff have crossed the whitewash 23 times in this season’s competition so far, with Welsh international fly-half Rhys Priestland top of the points and goalkicking charts with 41 points and 15/16 kicks.

But it’s not just an attacking threat that Alex Sanderson’s men will have to deal with; Cardiff also top the table for turnovers with 42 so far in a Challenge Cup campaign that’s seen them face Brive and Newcastle Falcons.

Alex’s side head to the Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday after almost three weeks without a game, but with their international stars back in the fold after the Six Nations.

The winner of the game will face either Connacht or Benneton Rugby away (April 7/8/9), followed by a potential semi-final against either Toulon, Toyota Cheetahs, Stade Francais or Lyon (April 28/29/30).

The final will take place at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on Friday, May 19.

Head coach:

Director of Rugby Dai Young re-joined Cardiff in 2021 after spending a decade at Premiership side Wasps. He had previously coached the region between 2003 and 2011.

A former prop during a 17-year playing career, Young won 51 caps for Wales in rugby union between 1987 and 2002, three caps for the British and Irish Lions and 14 caps for Wales in rugby league.

Young originally became Cardiff head coach in 2003, and during his first spell in charge led the side to the 2008/09 Heineken Champions Cup semi-final, the EDF Energy Cup title in 2009, and the European Challenge Cup the year after beating Toulon 28 – 21 at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille. That was the first time a Welsh team had won a European Competition.

You can hear what Young said ahead of this weekends knockout clash here.

Key men:

Taulupe Faletau

Taulupe Faletau has firmly established himself as one of the finest number eights in world rugby and will go down as one of Wales’ best ever players.

The Tongan-born back row – who initially came through the Dragons’ academy – arrived at Cardiff Rugby in the summer of 2022, following six years with Bath.

A three-times British and Irish Lions tourist, Faletau has played his part in three Six Nations title victories and won his 100th test cap against France in the recent 2023 competition.

Josh Adams

Josh Adams joined Cardiff ahead of the 2019-20 season having established himself as one of the most potent wingers in the northern hemisphere.

He made his international debut in the 2018 Six Nations and has remained a mainstay in the Wales set-up since.  Adams started every game of the 2019 Grand Slam-winning Championship campaign and bagged crucial tries against England, Italy and Scotland.

The wing became top try scorer at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, helping Wales to a semi-final by crossing the whitewash on seven occasions.

In 2021, Adams became the latest Cardiff player selected for the British & Irish Lions, playing in one Test match against Springboks and finishing as the tour’s top try scorer.

One to watch:

Mason Grady

Mason Grady signed his first professional deal with the region at only 18 years old, having impressed during his time with the academy and age grade sides.

The 20-year-old utility back enjoyed a memorable 18 months, impressing for both Wales under-18 and under-20, while also becoming a regular figure in the Pontypridd midfield.

A physically impressive youngster, he broke into the first team at the Arms Park towards the end of the 2020/21 campaign but suffered a knee injury which kept him sidelined for a number of months.

Grady made his return almost a year later, playing a key role in Cardiff RFC’s Premiership title victory and also playing his way back into the first team picture.

He made his full debut for Wales against England in the recent Six Nations.


Tickets are still available for the match via Cardiff Rugby.

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