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Thomas to captain Blue and Blacks in Johannesburg

First Team News | 10th May 2024

Matt Sherratt has made five changes for Cardiff’s BKT United Rugby Championship clash with Emirates Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday (17:15 BST).

The Blue and Blacks arrived in South Africa on Thursday morning and are straight into action at Emirates Airline Park (Ellis Park). 

Four of the changes come in the pack with recently capped international Evan Lloyd handed an opportunity at hooker. Rory Thornton and James Botham also step up from the bench, while Seb Davies returns to action, which sees Ben Donnell move into the back-row.

There is one further change in the back-line with Gabriel Hamer-Webb making his first appearance since returning back to the club, replacing Harri Millard, who has not travelled due to injury.

Sherratt said: “It’s great to be out here in South Africa and the boys are looking forward to getting into action in Johannesburg on Saturday evening. 

“It is always a time of year the boys look forward to and it is beneficial to spend an extended period together as a squad. 

“But as much as we will enjoy our time together here we are determined to give a really good account of ourselves and not let our season fizzle out. We have spoken all year about fighting for the badge and playing with ambition and that’s exactly what we will continue to do. 

“The Lions are a top quality team, who are packed with talented athletes and have a backline who can cause lots of problems if you give them too much space. 

“But we are going to Ellis Park to do a job, we have a game-plan, which will hopefully allow us to imprint our game on them, and we will do everything in our power to make our supporters proud.”

Ben Thomas, one of 16 pathway products in the match-day 23, will captain the side just days after becoming a father for the first time. 

There are also welcome returns to fitness for Rhys Litterick and Max Clark, who are named on the bench. 

Cardiff Rugby: Cam Winnett; Gabriel Hamer-Webb, Mason Grady, Ben Thomas, Theo Cabango; Tinus de Beer, Gonzalo Bertranou; Rhys Carre, Evan Lloyd, Keiron Assiratti, Seb Davies, Rory Thornton, Ben Donnell, James Botham, Mackenzie Martin.

Replacements: Liam Belcher, Corey Domachowski, Rhys Litterick, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Alun Lawrence, Ellis Bevan, Jacob Beetham, Max Clark.