Cardiff Blues have made one change for Saturday's Guinness PRO14 encounter with Benetton Rugby and have been boosted by an international trio returning among the replacements.
Cardiff Blues have made one change for Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 encounter with Benetton Rugby and have been boosted by an international trio returning among the replacements.
George Earle replaces Seb Davies, who picked up a knee injury in the agonising 33-32 last gasp defeat to Leinster last weekend.
The pack is otherwise unchanged and head coach John Mulvihill has given the same back-line a nod of approval for the Stadio Monigo clash
But there are three further changes among the replacements with Wales internationals Dillon Lewis, Josh Navidi and Gareth Anscombe all included.
Mulvihill said: “The boys were really disappointed that we didn’t get the result we wanted against Leinster. We got quite a good performance but you always look back on what could have been and there were a couple of those last week.
“We will take the little bit of momentum we have out of that game into Benetton. It was important we got rid of that disappointment early and when the boys came in on Monday they were ready, they knew it was game on and we have to win this week.
“Gareth, Navs and Dillon come into the match-day 23 and they are available for both games, which is good.
“Gareth and Josh bring great experience. Gareth brings his talk and will really help move the team around the field and Navs is a freak in the way he carries and keeps going. He’s really good in defence and attack, he’s a really good team man and a bit of a spark we can have coming off the bench.”
Benetton kicked off their season with a 21-17 victory over the Dragons at Rodney Parade and Mulvihill is well aware of the threat they pose.
The Blues claimed a quadruple of Italian victories last season and the Australian is targeting another double on the road to put their Guinness PRO14 season on track.
He added: “Benetton have some good South Africans and New Zealanders, a lot of current Test players from Italy and Sgarbi, their 12, was playing international rugby in the back-row last season.
“They have a big power game and work really hard around that so it will be a big challenge for us.
“But if we can get a good result this weekend then it sets us up nicely for the Zebre game and if we get back on the plane in nine days’ time with 12 points then that equates to three wins, which would put us in a good position.”
Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Jason Harries, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Owen Lane; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Brad Thyer, Kristian Dacey, Dmitri Arhip, George Earle, Rory Thornton, Josh Turnbull, Ellis Jenkins (capt), Nick Williams.
Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Rhys Gill, Dillon Lewis, Josh Navidi, Olly Robinson, Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Garyn Smith.