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Senior stars welcomed back for Edinburgh trip

First Team News | 7th January 2022

Cardiff Rugby welcome a host of senior stars back for Saturday’s United Rugby Championship clash against Edinburgh at DAM Health Stadium (KO 3.00pm).

The Blue and Blacks return to URC action for the first time since the October derby win over Dragons, taking on an in-form Edinburgh who are targeting top spot in the Championship table.

Dai Young’s side will be looking for their third consecutive league victory with European clashes against Harlequins and Toulouse also on the horizon.

Josh Turnbull captains the side at the Scottish capital, with the matchday squad containing seven of the players who featured in December’s memorable Heineken Champions Cup double header.

The Welsh international is joined in the back row by openside Will Boyde and James Botham, who wears the number eight jersey.

Seb Davies and Rory Thornton form the lock partnership with the front row trio of Rhys Carré, Kirby Myhill and Dmitri Arhip completing the pack.

Jason Harries is given the nod on the wing, lining up against his former club alongside fellow back three stars Owen Lane and Matthew Morgan.

The partnership of Rey Lee-Lo and Willis Halaholo continues in midfield while Rhys Priestland and Lloyd Williams combine to form an experienced half back partnership.

Director of rugby, Young, said: “I’ve got my fingers crossed until we kick off in this crazy world that we’re in. We’ve been  more or less ready at this of the week for three of four games now, but they’ve gone awry.

“We’re really looking forward to getting a game and we’re pretty hopeful it’ll happen this week.

“Everyone are keeping their fingers crossed that we get across the white line and get a game going.

“We’re looking forward to it because we have a lot of boys who haven’t played for a long time now.

“For some of these players, the last game they played was against Dragons so everyone is excited to get out and play.

“I was really pleased with the squad that played in Europe while we were away. Players like Seb Davies and James Botham had to take much more of a leadership role,” added Young.

“In that period, if anything, they had to mature because when we’re all here there’s more senior guys to lead.

“It definitely helped a number of players, and they’re two prime examples.

“They’ve taken confidence from that and I’d like to think it brought us a bit closer together.

“It was a difficult period but we stuck together and hopefully we’ve come out as a closer unit.”

Aled Summerhill is set for his first involvement of the season from the bench as one of 12 academy products included in the matchday 23.

Tomos Williams, Jarrod Evans and Ellis Jenkins offer international quality amongst the replacements as young prop Will Davies-King is included after impressing in Europe.

Cardiff Rugby: Matthew Morgan; Owen Lane, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Jason Harries; Rhys Priestland, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Carré, Kirby Myhill, Dmitri Arhip, Seb Davies, Rory Thornton, Josh Turnbull (capt.), Will Boyde, James Botham

Replacements: Liam Belcher, Corey Domachowski, Will Davies-King, James Ratti, Ellis Jenkins, Tomos Williams, Jarrod Evans, Aled Summerhill