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Cabango set for URC debut as Cardiff face DHL Stormers

First Team News | 18th March 2022

Theo Cabango will make his United Rugby Championship debut on Sunday as Dai Young makes six changes ahead of the clash with DHL Stormers in Cape Town (KO 12.00pm GMT).

The academy wing made his first team debut for the Blue and Blacks during the Heineken Champions Cup double header in December, and has impressed for the Rags since, topping the Indigo Group Premiership try scoring charts.

Cabango replaces Aled Summerhill on the wing, who is ruled out with concussion, while Jason Harries is also brought into the back three with Matthew Morgan retaining his spot at full back.

Rey Lee-Lo, who was another casualty from the defeat to Emirates Lions at Cape Town, is sidelined and replaced by Max Llewellyn, who partners Ben Thomas in midfield.

Jarrod Evans and Lloyd Williams continue their half back partnership, but there is a further three changes made to the pack.

Kristian Dacey will wear the number two jersey, making his first start of the season, alongside Corey Domachowski and Dmitri Arhip in the front row.

Rory Thornton links up with Matthew Screech at second row, which sees captain Josh Turnbull switching to the back row. Welsh international Ellis Jenkins replaces Will Boyde on the openside, with number eight James Botham completing the starting XV.

“The initial thing for us with the younger players was to bring these guys out, not necessarily for experience. We knew, with one or two injuries, that these guys could figure, and that’s the case with Theo," said director of rugby, Young.

“You can see, week-on-week, that they’re developing and getting more experience.

“They’re playing at that level, and they don’t look out of place at all at our level. We’re determined, between now and the end of the season, to give them some game-time.”

He continued: “The tempo and physicality of the Stormers' game will be a real test for us. Set piece will always be a challenge.

“We’ve obviously got to win collisions early doors in phases and make sure they’re playing off slow-ish ball. That will give us the chance to halt their go-forward.

“For me, it’s all about the gain line, physicality and winning collisions. If they get quick ball it could be a long night for us."

Scrum half Ellis Bevan is in-line for his first outing of the season from the bench, as academy products Teddy Williams, Garyn Smith and Keiron Assiratti return to the squad.

A total of 16 of the matchday 23 are homegrown products of the Cardiff pathway.

Cardiff Rugby: Matthew Morgan; Jason Harries, Max Llewellyn, Ben Thomas, Theo Cabango; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Corey Domachowski, Kristian Dacey, Dmitri Arhip, Matthew Screech, Rory Thornton, Josh Turnbull (capt.), Ellis Jenkins, James Botham

Replacements: Keiron Assiratti, Brad Thyer, Will Davies-King, Teddy Williams, Will Boyde, Ellis Bevan, Garyn Smith, Hallam Amos