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Thomas starts at 10 as Sherratt rings changes

First Team News | 17th May 2024

Matt Sherratt has made nine changes for Cardiff’s BKT United Rugby Championship clash with Hollywoodbets Sharks on Saturday (17:15 UK).

Following last week’s loss to Emirates Lions, the head coach has refreshed and reshuffled his side for the Kings’ Park encounter.

There are five changes in the pack, with Corey Domachowski, captain Liam Belcher and Rhys Litterick stepping up from the bench.

Shane Lewis-Hughes is also handed a starting opportunity and partners Rory Thornton, with Ben Donnell moving into the back-row. James Botham continues at open side with Alun Lawrence given the number eight jersey.

A further four changes come in the backs with Ellis Bevan replacing the injured Gonzalo Bertranou to partner Ben Thomas, who moves to 10. Sherratt has opted for experience in the centre with Willis Halaholo and Rey Lee-Lo reunited.

Josh Adams also returns to fitness and combines with Cam Winnett and Gabriel Hamer-Webb in the back three.

Matt Sherratt said: “We have changed things up a bit this week to re-energise the group. It’s always a big physical challenge in South Africa, so we have rotated some of the pack, while Willis, Rey and Josh Adams provide real experience to the back-line.”

Cardiff have won their two previous encounters against the Sharks, a 23-17 victory at the Arms Park in 2021 and a 30-0 triumph in Durban last season, but Sherratt expects a formidable challenge.

He continued: “We have some positive memories against the Sharks but they are a formidable outfit, with a huge amount of depth - whoever they pick, they will be a quality outfit.

“They play an exciting brand of rugby with a dangerous kick return and transition but it is all built on the solid foundations of a big, powerful and dynamic pack of forwards.

“So it is a big challenge for us but we are determined to finish out season in positive fashion. We have two games left where we can give a good last impression and I have no doubt the boys will give their everything come kick-off.”

There is further experience and firepower on the bench, with last week’s front row selected to provide impact along with Seb Davies and Mackenzie Martin.

With three scrum-halves sidelined, Tinus de Beer provides the scrum-half cover, while Mason Grady and Jacob Beetham complete the replacements.

Cardiff Rugby: Cameron Winnett; Josh Adams, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Gabriel Hamer-Webb; Ben Thomas, Ellis Bevan; Corey Domachowski, Liam Belcher (capt), Rhys Litterick, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Rory Thornton, Ben Donnell, James Botham, Alun Lawrence.

Replacements: Evan Lloyd, Rhys Carré, Keiron Assiratti, Seb Davies, Mackenzie Martin, Tinus de Beer, Jacob Beetham, Mason Grady