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Cardiff Blues change four for Dragons

5th October 2018

Cardiff Blues have made four changes for Saturday's Welsh derby against the Dragons in the Guinness PRO14.

Following back-to-back victories over Munster and Toyota Cheetahs, Wales’ Capital Region are aiming to stretch their winning streak over the Dragons to seven in the competition.

John Mulvihill has been boosted by the return of powerful duo Nick Williams and Josh Navidi, who both come into the back-row with Ellis Jenkins.

Elsewhere in the pack Brad Thyer starts at loose-head while in the backs, Lloyd Williams gets the nod at scrum-half.

Mulvihill was pleased to bolster his pack with further power and expects a brutally physical encounter at a vociferous Rodney Parade (17.15) in the first Welsh derby of the 2018-19 season.

The Cardiff Blues head coach said: “Last week we took the opportunity to rest Nick Williams and Josh Navidi. They have pulled through and it’s  great to have both of them back.

“It will be a fantastic occasion at Rodney Parade. I remember my days playing rugby down at Navan (in Ireland) and all the local derbies were quite parochial, so I'm sure it will be pretty hostile down there. 

“They are going to bring a lot of physicality. You look at all the games they have played – they have been in it early on, even against Leinster.

“They've put a couple of early wins on the board against good opposition so this will be their first crack at going against their neighbours, and I'm sure they'll be ready to go.

“A lot of these guys grew up together so it’s a lot of their mates they are playing against. It’s also the first time they know the national coaches will be involved and there’s big selections coming up.

“But we have got to make sure we just look after our side of the field and make sure we are ready to go.

“It could come down to a real scrap but we don’t want it to be a real arm-wrestle, we want the game to be open. We will certainly be on our game this weekend.”

Josh Turnbull will be making his 100th appearance for the region in the encounter, while Jarrod Evans returns from illness to take his place on the replacements bench.

The Dragons have won their last two fixtures at Rodney Parade, against Southern Kings and Zebre, but have lost their last 21 encounters against Welsh opposition.

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan, Owen Lane, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Jason Harris; Gareth Anscombe, Lloyd Williams; Brad Thyer, Kristian Dacey, Dmitri Arhip, George Earle, Josh Turnbull, Josh Navidi, Ellis Jenkins (capt), Nick Williams.

Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Rhys Gill, Dillon Lewis, Macauley Cook, Olly Robinson, Tomos Williams, Jarrod Evans, Garyn Smith.