Wales’ Capital Region fell to a heavy defeat at the hands of Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park last week but have been boosted by experience for the home clash.
Richard Hodges has made nine changes to the team with a host of first team players returning.
Dan Fish, Cory Allen, Matthew Rees, Jarrad Hoeata and Macauley Cook all start at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, while Anton Peikrishvili makes his first start.
Owen Lane, Ben Jones and Rhodri Davies are in line for their first start for the region.
Hooker Rees captains Wales’ Capital Region for the clash with the Ospreys, who narrowly lost their opening encounter to Harlequins.
Steve Tandy’s side also features a number of experienced players in their line-up, including internationals such as Jonathan Spratt, Rhodri Jones, Brendon Leonard, Eli Walker and captain Rob McCusker.
What They Said
Elite Performance Pathway Manager Hodges, who is heading up the coaching staff during the Anglo-Welsh Cup, insists Friday’s derby clash is an opportunity to restore pride following last week’s defeat at Sandy Park.
“Everyone was disappointed with how Sunday went. We’ve gone through and applied, in some detail, the lessons that need to be learnt for the Ospreys on Friday night.
“There’s a bit of pressure on some of the boys who may have struggled last week to learn the lessons, put things right and they have the opportunity against the Ospreys.
“It’s been quite a methodical approach towards getting the team prepared and with a bit more experience we feel in a better place.
“With the Principality Stadium double header, we tend to play our home fixture against the Ospreys there, so the opportunity to have them on our pitch, on a dry night lends itself to a big occasion.
“A Welsh derby at home on a Friday night stokes the fire along with a bit of hurt from Sunday – we should be an energized group come kick-off.”
Meanwhile Hoeata, who returns to the starting line-up this week, intends to use his experience to lead from the front.
The three-times capped All Black recalled his younger days, where he was given the opportunity to play alongside and learn from experienced New Zealand internationals.
“I remember whe I was younger, some of the All Blacks legends like Andrew Mehrtens and Reuben Thorne would come down to play with some of us,” said Hoeata.
“They really led by example, didn’y take a backward step and led from the front and that’s what I intend to do.
“There’s a really good vibe around the camp. The youngsters are given a chance to shine and show what they’ve got.
“It’s good to be back this week to held out some of the young boys, and hopefully we can put the Exeter results to bed.”
Macauley Cook added: “The boys were disappointed with the result last week. I watched the game and we had a very young, inexperienced team we had out but there were positives to take.
“They are looking forward to a big game on Friday night, a derby game and you don’t get too many.
“You always get up for a derby, especially the Ospreys at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park. We are looking forward to seeing what we can do and hopefully bouncing back.”
Dan Fish; Owen Lane, Cory Allen, Garyn Smith, Rhun Williams; Ben Jones, Rhodri Davies; Brad Thyer, Matthew Rees (C), Anton Peikrishvili, Jarrad Hoeata, James Down, Macauley Cook, Shane Lewis-Hughes, James Sheekey
Liam Belcher, Rhys Carre, Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies, James Botham, Hemi Barnes, Dane Blacker, Harri Millard
Dafydd Howells; Tom Grabham, Joe Thomas, Jonathan Spratt, Eli Walker; Phil Jones, Brendon Leonard; Gareth Thomas, Scott Otten, Rhodri Jones, Adam Beard, Rory Thornton, Olly Cracknell, Sam Underhill, Rob McCusker (C)
Sam Parry, Paul James, Ma’afu Fia, James Ratti, Joe Bearman, Matthew Aubrey, Dan Evans, Tom O’Flatery
Rhys Thomas and Richard Brace.