Hooker Rees is one of three changes to the starting line-up for Blues as they aim to make it a hat-trick of successive league wins.
Centre Dafydd Hewitt is also called up after his late try bonus heroics against Edinburgh.
Lock Bradley Davies will also make his first start of the calendar year after successfully coming on as a replacement in the victory in Scotland.
Wing Chris Czekaj will hit another memorable milestone in his career as he plays his 100th game in the RaboDirect PRO12.
Hooker Rhys Williams and lock Chris Dicomidis are named among the replacements.
Blues have climbed to ninth place in the standings and are just two points off seventh spot ahead of the double header of regional rugby at the home of Welsh rugby.
And Defence Coach Dale McIntosh insists Blues still have a lot to achieve this season as they look to finish the campaign strongly.
He said: “I think we have turned ‘a’ corner but not ‘the’ corner with recent results. We’ve improved and we’ve won two games, but it’s only two games.
“We face a formidable challenge on Sunday and perhaps we will see where we really are. It’s only two games we have won and we need to keep building.
“We want passion and desire from our players. We will need that tenacity and edge.
“The senior players coming back in has helped us; the likes of Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees, Alex Cuthbert,” he added.
“That promotes accountability, firstly in training and secondly in the game. We don’t players to drift through the week because what you do in training you take into the game.
“The senior players get out there and make the youngsters understand that is not acceptable.
“We can bang the drums all we want as coaches, and we do that, but that is all we are: coaches.
“Accountability comes on the pitch when the guys are next to you on the battlefield. When he is shouting at you that is when you have to stand up and take notice.”
Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Gareth Davies, 9 Lewis Jones; 1 Gethin Jenkins (c), 2 Matthew Rees, 3 Taufa’ao Filise, 4 Bradley Davies, 5 Filo Paulo, 6 Macauley Cook, 7 Josh Navidi, 8 Robin Copeland
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Chris Dicomidis, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Simon Humberstone, 23 Gavin Evans