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Faletau returns as Cardiff name side to face Ulster

First Team News | 18th April 2024

Cardiff have been boosted by the return of Taulupe Faletau ahead of their BKT United Rugby Championship match against Ulster at Kingspan Stadium on Friday night (19.35 KO).

The talismanic number eight has been named in the Blue and Blacks’ starting line-up for the first time this season having returned from a broken arm he sustained playing for Wales against Georgia during the Rugby World Cup.

He forms a back-row partnership with Alex Mann and Thomas Young, who returns to the starting XV after being named on the bench for the clash versus Munster earlier this month. 

In total, head coach Matt Sherratt has made four changes to the starting team with Teddy Williams, Young and Faletau replacing Seb Davies, Ellis Jenkins and Mackenzie Martin in the forwards, and Theo Cabango coming in for Owen Lane who is ruled out.

The Cardiff Rugby head coach said: “Obviously we’re delighted to have Toby back and starting for us. He’s a world-class talent, who everyone in the squad looks up to and will raise the standards in the team. 

“It’s exciting for us to be able to name him in the team to play alongside our younger players like Alex Mann and Mackenzie Martin who will only learn from the experience of playing with a great of the game.

“We come to Belfast on the back of two very good away performances against Glasgow and Munster, but now is the time to turn one point into four.  

“Ulster is a difficult place to come, and have a strong pack, but we’ve had some time off to recover and recuperate and then trained and prepared really well for the game.

“There is no reason why with this group, and the performances we have already put in on the road this season we can’t put in another good account of ourselves and turn a good performance into a win.”

15 of the match-day squad are products of the Cardiff pathway system.

Scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou, who signed on loan from Dragons RFC for the remainder of the season is named on the bench, along with Rhys Carré, Evan Lloyd, Ciaran Parker, Rory Thornton, Ellis Jenkins, Mackenzie Martin and Jacob Beetham.

Cardiff Rugby: Cam Winnett; Josh Adams, Mason Grady, Ben Thomas, Theo Cabango, Tinus de Beer, Ellis Bevan; Corey Domachowski, Liam Belcher (captain), Keiron Assiratti, Ben Donnell, Teddy Williams, Alex Mann, Thomas Young, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Rhys Carré, Evan Lloyd, Ciaran Parker, Rory Thornton, Ellis Jenkins, Gonzalo Bertranou, Jacob Beetham.