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Cardiff welcome four Welsh internationals back for Sale clash

First Team News | 31st March 2023

Cardiff welcome four Welsh internationals back for the Challenge Cup Round of 16 clash with Sale Sharks at the Arms Park on Saturday (KO 8pm).

Knockout rugby returns to the capital for the first time since the 2018 as the Blue and Blacks host a Sale side that currently sit in second place in the Gallagher Premiership.

Taulupe Faletau, who won his 100th Wales cap during the recent Guinness Six Nations campaign, will wear the number eight jersey, joining James Botham and captain Josh Turnbull in the back row.

Lopeti Timani, who missed the bonus point win over Zebre last week, will combine at second row behind an unchanged front row trio of Corey Domachowski, Liam Belcher and Keiron Assiratti.

Tomos Williams is reunited with Jarrod Evans at half back, while the centre partnership of Max Llewellyn and Mason Grady continues.

Josh Adams, who has nine tries in his last eight Cardiff outings, lines up in a back three that also includes Owen Lane and Rhys Priestland.

It will be the first time Cardiff have played since the passing of their Life President, and long serving chairman and benefactor, Peter Thomas. 

A minute’s silence will be followed by a minute’s applause at Cardiff Arms Park and Dai Young know it will be an emotionally charged occasion. 

Young said: “We are all devastated by the loss of Peter, who did so much for the club and touched the lives of so many of us privileged to be involved. He has been the driving force behind Cardiff and it is going to be an incredibly emotional occasion come Saturday.

“We are all determined to do Peter proud and we have an opportunity to do that on Saturday with many of his family in attendance. 

“He loved these big European occasions and Saturday night is no different against a top class Sale Sharks side, who are going really well in the English Premiership. 

“They’re a team full of size, power and physicality up front and we to have to match them on the gainline. We need to create our own tempo and our own intensity because a slow game will suit Sale far more than us.

“A busy Arms Park is a fantastic place to play rugby and obviously the players really appreciate that support. We’re hoping for another big crowd to get right behind us and mark the occasion.”

Seven internationals are named on the bench, with Wales prop Dillon Lewis making a return to the matchday squad. 

Cardiff have named a six-two split amongst the replacements, with Thomas Young continuing his comeback from injury and Krisitan Dacey set to move within one appearance of his double century for the club.

An encounter with the winning side of the match between Benetton Rugby and Connacht awaits Saturday’s victorious team.

Cardiff: Rhys Priestland; Owen Lane, Mason Grady, Max Llewellyn, Josh Adams; Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Corey Domachowski, Liam Belcher, Keiron Assiratti, Lopeti Timani, Teddy Williams, Josh Turnbull (capt.), James Botham, Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Rhys Carré, Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies, Thomas Young, James Ratti, Lloyd Williams, Ben Thomas