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Lee-Lo returns for Guinness PRO14 opener

31st August 2017

Rey Lee-Lo returns to action as Cardiff Blues kick-off their new Guinness PRO14 season with a home clash against Edinburgh on Friday night (7.35pm).

The 2016-17 Peter Thomas Player of the Year did not feature during the pre-season victories over London Scottish and Exeter Chiefs after he was given an extended break following his summer exploits with Samoa.

But he has been training with the squad and goes straight into a starting xv, which includes 10 internationals and Nick Williams, who also returns.

Cardiff Blues head coach Danny Wilson said: “Rey was our player of the year last season and will be an important player for us again. 

“It’s hard to keep him out of my office because he wants to play every week and is desperate to play. Trying to hold him off this long has been a challenge but it’s great to have him back.

“He has been training the last couple of weeks and we’ll manage him over the first month because he had a huge summer of rugby.”

Cardiff Blues claimed a double over Edinburgh last season and Wilson expects a stern challenge from the Scots, who will undoubtedly have been boosted by the arrival of Richard Cockerill as director of rugby.

But he believes the Blues can take plenty of confidence into the Cardiff Arms Park encounter following an impressive victory over English champions Exeter Chiefs in their final friendly.

He added: “It was a confidence boost, a good shot of confidence to the arm to have a side like that, with all the success they’ve had and coming with as strong a team as they had available to them and to claim a good win with a lot of youngsters on the field.

“Ultimately it means nothing - league points start on Friday. But it was a pleasing night and hopefully a confidence boost going into Friday.

“Edinburgh have always had a big pack of forwards who set-piece well, a good defence and I don’t see that changing from Richard Cockerill taking over.

“Now is their first chance under their new coach to make a mark, and I’m sure they’ll be coming over extremely motivated on Friday night.”

Cardiff Blues team to face Edinburgh on Friday, September 1 (7.35pm) at Cardiff Arms Park:

Matthew Morgan; Alex Cuthbert, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Aled Summerhill; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Gill, Matthew Rees (capt), Taufa’ao Filise, Seb Davies, Damian Welch, Josh Turnbull, Josh Navidi, Nick Williams.

Replacements: Kirby Myhil, Corey Domachowski, Keiron Assiratti, Macauley Cook, Sion Bennett, Tomos Williams, Steve Shingler, Tom James.