Danny Wilson has named an experienced starting line-up to face Newport Gwent Dragons in the first pre-season friendly of 2016.
Cardiff Blues take on their near neighbours and Bristol as they gear up for their renewed assault on the Guinness PRO12, with an emphasis on giving the entire squad opportunities before the big kick-off.
Wilson has named a 26-man squad, captained by Matthew Rees and with 14 of the starting players featuring for the first team last season.
New signings Steve Shingler and Rhun Williams are also included on the bench, and are joined by Cory Allen, who is set to make his first appearance for Wales’ Capital Region since February.
Wilson said: “The is an exciting fixture against our local rivals and although it is a pre-season friendly, it has that derby feel.
“Most of the guys playing have now been training for eight weeks and are ready for a game.
“It gives us as a coaching staff the opportunity to cast an eye over individuals and collective units and they have the chance to put their hand up for the first league match of the season.”
The bulk of the remaining players will feature in the final pre-season match against Bristol, ahead of the season opener against Edinburgh on September 3.
“Friday’s encounter at Rodney Parade will allow us to give the first 26 opportunities to stake a claim for first league game of season.
“The emphasis for these matches is very much on ensuring we are best prepared for the season opener against Edinburgh.
“We had a lot of away games at the start of the season, five on the bounce, which was a tough time and well documented, but now we have two home games in the first four and hopefully we can hit the ground running and pick up some wins.”
Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish; 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Harri Millard, 12 Garyn Smith, 11 Aled Summerhill;10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Lewis Jones; 1 Brad Thyer, 2 Matthew Rees (capt), 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 James Down, 6 Macauley Cook, 7 Josh Navidi, 8 James Sheekey.
Replacement: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Seb Davies, 20 Cam Dolan, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Steve Shingler, 23 Cory Allen, 24 Teri Gee, 25 Shane Lewis-Hughes, 26 Rhun Williams.