Cardiff Blues have made three changes for Saturday's Guinness PRO14 encounter against Scarlets, as they target back-to-back victories in the crucial festive derbies.
Wales’ Capital Region travel to Llanelli on the back of a dramatic victory over Dragons at Cardiff Arms Park last week, where Gareth Anscombe slotted a last-gasp penalty to seal the win.
Two of John Mulvihill’s changes come in the pack, with both Brad Thyer and George Earle re-introduced into the starting line-up, as back row Olly Robinson is named on the bench.
The only other change to the starting XV sees experienced scrum half, Lloyd Williams, given the nod at number nine, replacing Tomos Williams.
Newly-appointed captain, Kristian Dacey, will lead the side at Parc y Scarlets, as Josh Turnbull, Josh Navidi and Nick Williams are named in a physical back row combination.
Head coach, Mulvihill, is delighted to have consistency in his selection and is looking forward ahead of his first visit to west Wales:
“We’ve kept our selection quite consistent over the last couple of weeks but Gilly [Rhys Gill] picked up a knock and Brad Thyer is one of our stronger scrummagers so he comes in,” said the Australian.
“We’ve picked Lloyd [Williams] just to make sure we get our kicking game right and play in the right areas in the first half.
“We were happy with the four points against Dragons but there were some areas where we really let ourselves down.
“The first 20 after half-time was excellent, 81 per cent territory, a lot of possession and we scored but we didn’t go back to back and then found ourselves on the wrong end of some decisions and it the wrong parts of the field. It was a perfect storm for the Dragons in the last 20.
“The Scarlets are a Championship team, they have some really good players and I’m sure they’ll try to find a way tomorrow playing at home.
“We went through a bit of a bad patch as well so we understand their mind set. They will be dangerous.
“If we get a good result this week and follow it up next week then we put some pressure on them and are back in the mix, which is where we need to be. The season is in our hands.
“It will be my first time playing those guys, it’s down there so I’m looking forward to it.
“Hopefully there will be a good crowd. It’s a derby game and people always turn up, and hopefully it will be a really hard fought game.”
Dmitri Arhip, is set for a return to action, as he’s named amongst the replacements at Parc y Scarlets. The Moldovan international, who arrived at the Welsh capital over the summer, has been on the sidelines since October but recovers to take his place on the bench.
Fellow prop and Cardiff Blues academy graduate, Corey Domachowski, is included in the matchday squad for the first time this season.
Cardiff Blues: Dan Fish; Blaine Scully, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Garyn Smith; Gareth Anscombe, Lloyd Williams; Brad Thyer, Kristian Dacey (capt), Dillon Lewis, George Earle, Seb Davies, Josh Turnbull, Josh Navidi, Nick Williams
Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Corey Domachowski, Dmitri Arhip, James Down, Olly Robinson, Tomos Williams, Steven Shingler, Matthew Morgan