Blog Banner

Eight changes made for Benetton clash as Smith set for a century

First Team News | 15th November 2020

John Mulvihill has received a triple fitness boost as he makes eight changes for Cardiff Blues’ Guinness PRO14 clash with Benetton Rugby tomorrow (7.45pm).

James Botham, Jarrod Evans and Willis Halaholo all return to the starting line-up following short-term injuries.

Four changes come in the pack with Corey Domachowski returning to the front-row and Scott Andrews making his first start of the season.

Ben Murphy partners Rory Thornton in a sizeable second-row, while Botham returns to the number seven jersey with Olly Robinson switching to the blindside and Josh Turnbull to number eight.

In the backs, Evans forms a new look partnership with Jamie Hill, who makes his first PRO14 start.

Halaholo combines with Garyn Smith, who makes his 100th appearance for the region, in the midfield. Matthew Morgan also returns to the starting line-up in a back three containing Hallam Amos and Owen Lane, who reaches a half century.

Mulvihill said: “It’s good to have the three guys back this week, they are very important players for us and can give us that competitive edge in what has become a really important game.

“We have been disappointed with our recent results and we’re excited to have the opportunity to put things right with a performance on Monday night, which will hopefully get us back to winning ways.

“There is a lot of energy in the group and while we know how dangerous Benetton can be, we are looking for a big reaction to give Garyn and Laney something to celebrate on their milestones.

“They are two great young players, who deserve the plaudits. Garyn has become a very dependable player, who never lets us down while we all know what Laney is capable of. He might have had more appearances by now if it wasn’t for injuries but it’s great to have him fit and firing again.”

Kristian Dacey continues to lead the side, with club captain Ellis Jenkins continuing on the comeback trial. 

Keiron Assiratti also returns and is included for the first time since he picked up an ankle injury while on loan to Bristol Bears in September. 

The tight-head prop successfully returned for action in the recent Cardiff Blues A victory over Dragons A, having previously made 39 senior appearances.

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Owen Lane, Garyn Smith, Willis Halaholo, Hallam Amos; Jarrod Evans, Jamie Hill; Corey Domachowski, Kristian Dacey, Scott Andrews, Ben Murphy, Rory Thornton, Olly Robinson, James Botham, Josh Turnbull

Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Brad Thyer, Keiron Assiratti, James Ratti, Alun Lawrence, Lewis Jones, Ben Thomas, Aled Summerhill