The Australian international is named in the starting line-up as Head Coach Danny Wilson makes ten changes to the side that defeated Rugby Calvisano last week in Europe.
A new-look front row will see Thomas Davies start his first Guinness PRO12 game of the season alongside hooker Matthew Rees, who captains the team, and tighthead Ma’afu.
Lock James Down returns to the second row while Ellis Jenkins and Manoa Vosawai win back row call-ups.
Centre Rey Lee-Lo is back in the starting line-up and paired with Gavin Evans in midfield.
USA international Blaine Scully and Aled Summerhill will provide the fire-power out wide while fly half Rhys Patchell is the final change to the side.
Wales Under-20 wing speedster Elis-Wyn Benham, fresh from three tries in two games in the British & Irish Cup, could make his senior regional debut after being named among the replacements.
Prop Brad Thyer could also make his Guinness PRO12 debut from the bench where scrum half Tomos Williams also wins a place.
Nine players miss the game as they are away on international duty with Wales while Sam Hobbs (concussion) and Lou Reed (foot) are also ruled out through injury.
Head Coach Danny Wilson said: “We have spoken to the players this week about the challenge ahead of us as we look to build on the momentum of the last two months.
“At home we’re making BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park a difficult place to visit, with just one defeat in the Guinness PRO12. That is a record we must build on with seven home games left. It is up to this group to show what they are capable of to maintain that.
“With nine players away with Wales, it’s imperative that other players within the squad take the opportunity to step up. We’ve trained well this week and have been encouraged by the positivity and enthusiasm in the camp.
“There are a number of changes to the starting line-up, among them a debut for Salesi Ma’afu, and we look forward to seeing what we can produce back in Guinness PRO12 action.”
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Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Aled Summerhill, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Tavis Knoyle; 1 Thomas Davies, 2 Matthew Rees (c), 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 James Down, 6 Ellis Jenkins, 7 Josh Navidi, 8 Manoa Vosawai
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Bradley Thyer, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Jevon Groves, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Elis-Wyn Benham