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Seven changes made for Heineken Champions Cup opener

12th October 2018

Cardiff Blues have made seven changes for their opening Heineken Champions Cup encounter against Lyon on Sunday (14:00 local).

Wales’ Capital Region, who won the European Challenge Cup last season, return to the top tier for first time since 2014, and go into competition on the back of three consecutive wins.
Head coach John Mulvihill has largely opted for the same squad that claimed the Welsh derby spoils against the Dragons last week but has reshuffled his starting XV.
Up front, props Rhys Gill and Dillon Lewis pack down either side of Kristian Dacey, with Brad Thyer and Dmitri Arhip dropping to the bench. Macauley Cook comes in for George Earle, while Olly Robinson, Ellis Jenkins and Josh Navidi form a dynamic back-row.
In the backs, Tomos Williams and Jarrod Evans get the nod at half-back, with Gareth Anscombe switching to full-back, and Garyn Smith joins Willis Halaholo in the centre.
Samu Manoa is included among the replacements and will make his Blues debut if called into action at Matmut Stade de Gerland.
Mulvihill said: “It is great for us as a region to be back in the Heineken Champions Cup – the significance of this competition is vitally important to us.
“Just being at the launch event, it really hit home what a big competition this is and how important it is that we are in it each year. It is the very best of the best.
“We will go into every game to compete and Lyon is a great fixture to kick-off our campaign. It will be a fantastic occasion down there and we are all looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere.
“We have done our homework on them and know if we really go to compete, throw the ball around and make it a fast game then we will have an opportunity to win.
“We’ve rotated the team a little to ensure boys are managed properly and have purposely picked a very mobile and dynamic back-row to suit the game-plan we want to implement.”
The Blues triumphed over Lyon twice on their way to winning the Challenge Cup last season and thirteen of Sunday’s squad have tasted victory at Stade de Gerland.
It is the French club’s debut season in the Champions Cup but they have got off to an impressive start to their domestic competition and currently sit third in the Top 14.
Cardiff Blues: Gareth Anscombe, Owen Lane, Garyn Smith, Willis Halaholo, Jason Harries, Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Rhys Gill, Kristian Dacey, Dillon Lewis, Macauley Cook, Josh Turnbull, Olly Robinson, Ellis Jenkins, Josh Navidi.
Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Brad Thyer, Dmitri Arhip, Rory Thornon, Samu Manoa, Lloyd Williams, Rey Lee-Lo, Aled Summerhill