The Blues welcome back lock, Bradley Davies, who has recovered from concussion suffered in the match against New Zealand. Marc Breeze returns also having recovered from a neck injury and concussion, picked up against the Montpellier in the Round 3 match in early December. Young Cardiff RFC scrum half Alex Walker is named on the bench for the Blues and could make his regional debut.
The Blues take on a Scarlets side whose four game winning run in the PRO12 came to a halt last time out with their 12-19 defeat to table-topping Ulster at Parc y Scarlets.
The Blues are the only side in the tournament who have tallied more league points on the road this season than they have accumulated at home, while the West Wales region are the second best away team in the tournament behind Ulster, and have lost just one of their last eleven fixtures against fellow Welsh regions.
Speaking ahead of the match Phil Davies said,
“We created opportunities on the field in Montpellier, there was a disallowed try, a couple of penalties and a conversation that went array. There were opportunities that we created that we didn’t convert but the overall effort and commitment of the players was fantastic. It is certainly our aim to bounce back in the league over the Christmas period.
“We want to turn these performances and these steps in the right direction into wins. The players and coaches are working exceptionally hard and it’s a case of turning the corner and turning some of these tight games we have been having recently into victories. Once we get on a bit of a roll I think this team will push forward.
“The Scarlets are a very talented team with lots of quality individuals but also a talented unit. Over the last five years Nigel Davies did a great job developing the team and pushing them forward. Simon Easterby has now taken over the mantel and they are a very good side and well organised.
“They will be a tough team to beat, but we are at home and with a big crowd behind us, we can create a good atmosphere by delivering a top performance.”
The Scarlets have won their last six encounters with the Blues in all competitions, whilst they have not visited the Arms Park since May 2008.
Tickets for the match are selling fast with only a handful of seats left for the game. The Scarlets and Dragons games are Category A matches and priced at £22 for adults in the Central Seating area and £18 on the Terrace.
Tickets are likely to sell out for these festive fixtures, so supporters are encouraged to purchase their tickets early online at www.cardiffblues.com/tickets or calling 029 2030 2030
15 Jason Tovey 14 Alex Cuthbert 13 Gavin Evans 12 Dafydd Hewitt 11 Harry Robinson 10 Rhys Patchell 9 Lewis Jones
8 Andries Preotrius (c) 7 Sam Warburton 6 Josh Navidi 5 James Down 4 Bradley Davies 3 Scott Andrews 2 Marc Breeze 1 Taufa’ao Filise
16 Rhys Williams 17 Sam Hobbs 18 Benoit Bourrust 19 Macauley Cook 20 Robin Copeland 21 Alex Walker 22 Ceri Sweeney 23 Owen Williams
Not available for selection:
Leigh Halfpenny- Severe stinger in match against Australia and is receiving on-going review by specialists
Jamie Roberts- Suffered elbow hyperextension in match against Australia. Expected back in mid January.
Michael Paterson- Fractured little finger against Ospreys. Surgery Thursday 6 December. As per specialist review but expected back in 4 - 6 weeks
Chris Czeckaj- Foot ligament injury. Surgery to remove pin 13th December, expected back early January
Dan Fish- Suffered shoulder nerve palsy in match against Zebre and seeing specialist. Awaiting results
Tom James- Fractured sesamoid (big toe). Surgery to remove pin on Wednesday 5th December, back 6 weeks post operation.
Jake Cooper – Woolley right knee ACL injury 4 months
Tom Davies- ACL knee reconstruction this week 4 months