Blog Banner

13 changes ahead of final pre-season clash

24th August 2017

Cardiff Blues have made 13 changes to the side that defeated London Scottish last week, as they prepare to welcome Aviva Premiership champions, Exeter Chiefs, to Cardiff Arms Park for the final pre-season fixture on Friday (KO 7.15pm)

Ellis Jenkins captains the side, and lines up alongside Josh Navidi and Macauley Cook in the back row.

Lock Damian Welch makes his first appearance for the Blues since his summer move from the Chiefs, and is partnered by Seb Davies, who retains his place following last week's win.

Rhys Gill, Matthew Rees and Taufa'ao Filise line-up in a completely changed front row.

In the backs, last week's hat-trick hero, Aled Summerhill, swaps over to the left wing, with internationals Alex Cuthbert and Matthew Morgan also named in the back three.

Lloyd Williams and Steve Shingler are in line for their first appearances of the season at half back, while Willis Halaholo links up with Garyn Smith in the centre.

Replacements include Tom James, Dan Fish Josh Turnbull and Tomos Williams, who returns after to the squad after being part of Wales' summer tour to the Pacific Islands.

Cardiff Blues backs and attack coach, Matt Sherratt, insists places are still up for grabs for next week's Guinness PRO14 opener against Edinburgh, and a tough Exeter Chiefs test is a perfect opportunity for individuals to impress the coaching team.

"The first priority for any pre-season is to prepare physically and we got 25 players some game time on Saturday at London Scottish, which was a great test for us," said Sherratt.

"This weekend the players who didn't get game time in London will get to play. 

"The first bit of priority will be for them to get their first bit of rugby of the season and match fitness before the tough test of Edinburgh. 

"We challenged the squad to stick their hands up against London Scottish and put a performance in that puts them in the picture to get selected against Edinburgh. As a coach, if you say that you've got to back it up, you can't take it away.

"Certain individuals played very well against London Scottish, but it will be a balance of players [who impress and those who need game time].

"Everybody needs to get some rugby and we need to have an environment where players feel they've got a realistic chance of getting selected if they play well."

Tickets for Friday night's game, as well as the first three Guinness PRO14 fixtures at CAP, are on sale NOW!

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Alex Cuthbert, Garyn Smith, Willis Halaholo, Aled Summerhill; Steven Shingler, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Gill, Matthew Rees, Taufa'ao Filise, Seb Davies, Damian Welch, Macauley Cook, Ellis Jenkins (capt.), Josh Navidi

Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Corey Domachowski, Keiron Assiratti, James Down, Josh Turnbull, Tomos Williams, Jarrod Evans, Jack Roberts, Owen Lane, Tom James, Dan Fish