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Thomas named captain for Judgement Day clash against Ospreys

First Team News | 31st May 2024

Head coach Matt Sherratt has made six changes for Cardiff’s final BKT United Rugby Championship match of the season against Ospreys at Judgement Day on Saturday.

The Blue & Blacks enter the fixture at Cardiff City Stadium in a positive mood after their bonus point victory over the Sharks in Durban a fortnight ago.

Ben Thomas has been named as captain after Liam Belcher was ruled out with a hand injury. 

There are three changes in the pack, with a new front row in the form of Rhys Carre, Evan Lloyd and Keiron Assiratti. Carre will make his final appearance for Cardiff before his move to Saracens in the summer. 

The second row and back row remains the same from Durban, with the departing Shane Lewis-Hughes starting alongside Rory at lock, and Ben Donnell and James Botham accompanying Alun Lawrence who starts at eight. 

A further three changes come in the backs with Tinus de Beer returning at 10 and Thomas moving back to 12 in place of Willis Halaholo. 

Josh Adams is ruled out through injury, so Theo Cabango returns and forms a back three with Mason Grady and Cam Winnett. 

Matt Sherratt said: “This is an opportunity for us to sign off the season in style with back-to-back wins.

“We’ve played some good rugby this year, but it hasn’t always translated to wins despite some very near losses.

“Judgement Day is always a special occasion in the Welsh rugby calendar and if we can secure a victory against a strong Ospreys side in front of a big crowd, it will be nice way to round off the season and give us some momentum into next year.”

Cardiff won last year’s Judgement Day encounter against Ospreys 21-38, but Sherratt expects a strong challenge from the Swansea based side. 

He continued: “We have some good memories against Ospreys at Judgement Day from last season, where we put in once of our best performances of the campaign. 

“If we can do that again, we’ll be very close to finishing the season in positive fashion again.  

“The players have trained well throughout the week and there’s plenty of motivation with it being some players last games for the club.

“I’m sure they will give everything at kick-off and we hope to give out supporters something to cheer about heading into the off season.”

Efan Daniel, Corey Domachowski and Rhys Litterick form the front row replacements, while Seb Davies and Lopeti Timani provide second row and back row cover. 

Willis Haloholo moves to the bench for the final time in his illustrious Cardiff career and Jacob Beetham and Gabriel Hamer-Webb complete the replacements.

Cardiff Rugby: Cameron Winnett; Theo Cabango, Rey Lee-Lo, Ben Thomas ©, Mason Grady, Tinus de Beer, Ellis Bevan; Rhys Carre, Evan Lloyd, Keiron Assiratti, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Rory Thornton, Ben Donnell, James Botham, Alun Lawrence.

Replacements: Efan Daniel, Corey Domachowski, Rhys Litterick, Seb Davies, Lopeti Timani, Willis Halaholo, Jacob Beetham, Gabriel Hamer-Webb