Prop Gethin Jenkins, centre Cory Allen and wing Alex Cuthbert all return to the starting line-up as Blues and Exiles – who both boast unbeaten records in Europe this season – do battle in what is all set up to be a classic in Pool 1.
Hooker Matthew Rees makes a return to the front row and will captain the team on home soil while fly half
Gareth Amscombe is also declared fit and starts his first European game for Blues.
Back row Manoa Vosawai, scrum half Lewis Jones and utility back Dan Fish are named among the replacements.
Director of Rugby Mark Hammett said: “We want to make home advantage count, but to do that we need to perform with passion, know our structures, patterns and ensure everyone does their job.
“Playing at home is something that we relish and I’m sure the atmosphere will inspire the team.
“I’ve been impressed by the way London Irish look to play the game and, in many ways, we are quite similar,” he added.
“When then opportunity is there, we both like to play with speed and width. We have got to be armed and ready for that style of attack and look to pressure or stop it. London Irish also have a big pack of forwards and strong driving game that we need to counter.
“In terms of team selection, it’s fantastic to welcome back our internationals and we congratulate them on a famous win against South Africa last week. These players will boost the squad and raise our game to a new level.”
Tickets remain on sale NOW for the European Rugby Challenge Cup clash between Cardiff Blues and London Irish at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park. Call the Ticket Office on 02920 302030 or click on www.cardiffblues.com to buy online.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Adam Thomas, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Richard Smith, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Lloyd Williams;
1 Gethin Jenkins, 2 Matthew Rees (c), 3 Adam Jones, 4 Filo Paulo, 5 Josh Turnbull, 6 Macauley Cook, 7 Ellis Jenkins, 8 Josh Navidi
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Rory Watts-Jones, 20 Manoa Vosawai, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Dan Fish