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Hodges urges players to take their chance in Anglo-Welsh Cup

25th January 2017

Richard Hodges has challenged his Anglo-Welsh side to put their hands up for first team opportunities when they face Sale Sharks on Friday night.

The Cardiff Blues Elite Performance Pathway Manager will once again lead the side as they head to the AJ Bell Stadium.

He will have a mix of youth and experience available to him, including the region’s current crop of 12 Wales Under-20s squad members, and he insists it is a chance to impress head coach Danny Wilson.

Hodges said: “It’s going to be another tough test up in Manchester on Friday night but we have a bit more experience in the group.

“It’s all about trying to strike a balance. We want to give as many opportunities to some of our youngsters as possible but if we can get a bit of a spine through our side as well then it creates the balance we crave.

“Sale are a side with a big budget and a big squad of players. They are in with a shout of qualifying so whatever they select it will be a tough night but that’s what this group needs.

“We will learn a lot about them in these situations and tough environments. That’s where we will have questions on these youngsters and for the first team boys, it’s a chance to knock on Danny’s door.”

Fly-half Jarrod Evans is likely to be included for the first time since he fractured his jaw against Exeter Chiefs earlier in the competition.

He was due to feature in the British & Irish Cup in recent weeks but first illness and then a frozen pitch scuppered those hopes.

But Hodges is looking forward to having the talented playmaker back at his disposal.

He added: “We were 10-0 up in Exeter when he went off. It was a nasty injury and he has recovered well from it, it’s just a case of building his confidence back up.

“He pulled out of the Jersey game due to illness and then the London Scottish game was called off so we will now look to give him some game time. 

“He’s a very talented young man, he needs to get a run of games and everybody is excited to get him back on the pitch because he’s an exceptionally talented individual.”