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Robinson starts as one of two changes for Benetton trip

First Team News | 12th March 2021

Olly Robinson will make his first Cardiff Blues start since November as one of two changes made for the final away match of the Guinness PRO14 campaign.

Cardiff Blues travel to Treviso on Sunday to take on Conference B rivals Benetton Rugby, with Dai Young’s side targeting two wins from the final two rounds to keep their European Champions Cup qualification hopes alive.

They are currently fourth in the conference, eight points adrift of the Scarlets and six points ahead of next week’s opponents Edinburgh, who boast two games in hand.

Director of rugby Young said: “We were good for big parts of the game against Connacht and we certainly were against Munster as well. But we have to learn quickly how to win games.

"You talk about learning from losses and it’s important that we learn quickly because we’ve shown a lot of good stuff against good teams but have ultimately come away with nothing.

“We know what we’ve got to do, and that is win the next two games. Win the next two games and we’ll end up where we end up with it being out of our hands.

“We didn’t get the points we would’ve like against the Irish sides but we have two more opportunities to get points on the board. Hopefully that will be enough for us to get into the Champions Cup.” 

Both changes are made in the pack with flanker Robinson wearing the number six jersey and replacing the injured Shane Lewis-Hughes, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.

Robinson, who is currently second in the Guinness PRO14’s turnover charts, has been on the sidelines with a shoulder injury that he suffered in the reverse fixture against Benetton in November and made his comeback from the bench against Munster.

Ellis Jenkins and Josh Turnbull complete the back row while Seb Davies and Rory Thornton continue their partnership at lock.

The other change to the starting line-up is in the front row, with Keiron Assiratti joining fellow academy graduates Corey Domachowski and Liam Belcher to make his first start of the season and his 45th appearance in Cardiff Blues colours.

Young has named an unchanged backline for the trip to northern Italy, with the young half back combination of Jamie Hill and Ben Thomas retained after impressing in Round 13, and Wales international Jarrod Evans named on the bench after linking up with Cardiff this morning.

Eighteen-year-old Mason Grady was another who impressed against Munster, and links up with Samoan international Rey Lee-Lo in midfield.

Owen Lane, fresh from signing a new contract with his home-town club, lines up in the back three alongside Matthew Morgan and Aled Summerhill.

Young added: “Our younger players like Mason, Ben and Jamie all made an impression last time out, and they’ve earnt another shot this week. It’s also great to welcome Olly Robinson back, and his return is timely following the injury to Shane. 

“We’re pleased to have Jarrod back available this week, however he has only had one training day and we felt Ben deserved to hold onto the jersey with Jarrod offering his ability and experience from the replacements.”

A number of players make their return from injury, including Alun Lawrence and Dillon Lewis, while Rhys Gill and Jason Harries are set for their first competitive outing of the season.

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Owen Lane, Mason Grady, Rey Lee-Lo, Aled Summerhill; Ben Thomas, Jamie Hill; Corey Domachowski, Liam Belcher, Keiron Assiratti, Seb Davies, Rory Thornton, Olly Robinson, Ellis Jenkins, Josh Turnbull (capt.)

Replacements: Iestyn Harris, Rhys Gill, Dillon Lewis, James Ratti, Alun Lawrence, Lewis Jones, Jarrod Evans, Jason Harries