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Timani set for first start as Cardiff host Emirates Lions

First Team News | 29th September 2022

Lopeti Timani will make his first start in Cardiff colours as Emirates Lions visit the capital on Friday evening.

Following his summer arrival from RC Toulon, the Tongan international has made two appearances from the bench in the opening weeks of the BKT United Rugby Championship. 

However, with Dai Young’s side looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat to Glasgow, Timani comes into the line-up to form a lock partnership with Seb Davies.

A reshuffle in the back row sees Taulupe Faletau returning to the number eight jersey after a Player of the Match display in the win over Munster, with James Botham and captain Josh Turnbull occupying the flanks.

Elsewhere, Theo Cabango recovers from a shoulder injury to take his place on the wing, replacing the injured Josh Adams. The academy product enjoyed a breakthrough campaign last season and will make his first appearance of 22/23 in a back three that includes Aled Summerhill and full back Rhys Priestland - who slots into the number 15 jersey following injuries to Liam Williams, Jacob Beetham and Matthew Morgan.

Rey Lee-Lo is reunited with Max Llewellyn in midfield while Jarrod Evans and Tomos Williams continue their half back partnership.

A double change in the front row sees Brad Thyer and Liam Belcher joining Dillon Lewis in the starting XV.

Young said: “We’re looking forward to getting back to the Arms Park. We didn’t build on the Munster game last week so hopefully we can bounce back at home against a very good Lions team.

“It’s going to be a real good game with lots of rugby to be played by both teams. It should be a lot of entertainment for the people that come to watch. We love playing at the Arms Park and want to give our home crowd the kind of performance they deserve.

“We have made a few changes due to injury but we have still have a strong squad and if we can get back to the kind of performance we saw against Munster and build on that, there is no reason why we can’t get the result we want.”

Having missed out on the opening two rounds with a hamstring injury, Corey Domachowski returns to the fold, lining up on the bench alongside Dmitri Arhip - who was ruled out of last week’s trip to Scotland. 

Following Friday’s clash, Cardiff face back-to-back derbies against Scarlets and Dragons.

Cardiff Rugby: Rhys Priestland; Aled Summerhill, Rey Lee-Lo, Max Llewellyn, Theo Cabango; Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Brad Thyer, Liam Belcher, Dillon Lewis, Lopeti Timani, Seb Davies, Josh Turnbull (capt.), James Botham, Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Corey Domachowski, Dmitri Arhip, Rory Thornton, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Lloyd Williams, Mason Grady, Uilisi Halaholo

Unavailable for selection:

Ben Thomas (shoulder) - November

Josh Navidi (Neck) - October/November

Owen Lane (Ankle) - December

Liam Williams (Shoulder) - December/January

Josh Adams (Groin) - October

Rhys Carré (Leg) - October

Matthew Morgan (Knee)

Jacob Beetham (ACL)

Thomas Young (Neck)