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Assiratti starts as Cardiff Blues Premiership Select travel to Bristol for final B&I Cup match

18th January 2018

Cardiff Blues Premiership Select have made four changes ahead of Friday's final British and Irish Cup pool stage match against Bristol at Ashton Gate.

Justin Burnell’s side have been encouraged by the improved performances over the last two rounds, picking up two try scoring bonus points in the defeats to Doncaster Knights and Leinster ‘A’.

20-year-old Keiron Assiratti, who has made 13 appearances for the Cardiff Blues senior side this season, is introduced to the starting front row, replacing Scott Andrews, having featured from the bench against Leinster ‘A’.

Assiratti is joined in the front row by Corey Domachowski and captain Ethan Lewis, who retains their starting spots at the loosehead and hooker respectively.

Other changes in the pack sees Wales Under-20 international, Callum Bradbury, replacing James Down in the second row, while Owain Lloyd is handed the number six jersey.

Only one change is made in the backline, with Corey Howells starting on the wing. Centre Jack Roberts continues his comeback from a lengthy injury lay-out, with Scott Gibson and Ben Thomas named at half back following an impressive display against Leinster ‘A’.

Ben Jones, who has been called up for Wales' Under-20 squad for the upcoming Six Nations campaign, makes a comeback from a short-term injury and is named amongst the replacements.

Meanwhile, Bristol have named a strong side for the Ashton Gate clash, with ten internationals named in the starting XV.

Wales international Rhodri Williams, who is set to move to Dragons next season, links up with 30-times capped Irish international, Ian Madigan, at half back.

The team is captained by Samoan centre Tusi Pisi, who combines with Tonga’s Sale Piutau in midfield. The back three is made up of former Scarlets full back Jordan Williams, Alapati Leiua and Wallaby Luke Morahan.

Jack Lam is named at number eight alongside Sam Jeffries and Dan Thomas in the back row. Chris Vui partners Joe Joyce in the second row, with Jason Harris-Wright, Sione Faletau and Welsh international Ryan Bevington named in the front row.

The bench features former Northampton Saints and Racing Metro prop, Soane Tonga’uiha.

Cardiff Blues Premiership Select: Pat Lewis; Dafydd Smith, Jack Roberts, Josh Martin, Corey Howells; Ben Thomas, Scott Gibson; Corey Domachowski, Ethan Lewis (C), Keiron Assiratti, Ben Murphy, Callum Bradbury, Owain Lloyd, James Botham, Alun Lawrence

Replacements: Iestyn Harris, Rhys Carre, Tom Mably, Gareth Jones, Sion Edwards, Harry Rumens, Ben Jones

Bristol Rugby: Jordan Williams; Luke Morahan, Siale Piutau, Tusi Pisi (C), Alapati Leiua; Ian Madigan, Rhodri Williams; Ryan Bevington, Jason Harris-Wright, Sione Faletau, Joe Joyce, Chris Vui, Sam Jeffries, Dan Thomas, Jack Lam

Replacements: Ross McMillan, Soane Tonga’uiha, Ollie Dawe, Nick Haining, Andy Uren, Billy Searle, Jack Wallace