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Turnbull captains Cardiff in Gloucester pre-season clash

First Team News | 1st September 2022

Josh Turnbull will captain Cardiff Rugby as they kick off their pre-season fixtures against Gloucester on Friday (KO 7.45pm).

With only two weeks remaining until the Blue and Blacks welcome Munster to the capital for the United Rugby Championship opener, Dai Young has named an experienced side for the trip to Kingsholm.

Wales’ summer tourists are absent, as they continue to be integrated into training, but Cardiff’s matchday squad still contains a total of 13 internationals, alongside a number of the club’s promising youngsters.

Jacob Beetham - who made his senior debut in last season’s memorable tussle with Toulouse in Europe - is given the nod at full back, and is joined by fellow homegrown talent Owen Lane and Aled Summerhill in the back three.

Mason Grady links up with Max Llewellyn in the midfield while Lloyd Williams and Jarrod Evans form a familiar half back partnership.

Captain Turnbull, who was awarded the Peter Thomas Player of the Season award in 21/22, is joined by Shane Lewis-Hughes and James Botham - last season’s Players’ Player of the Year.

The front five consists of front row Corey Domachowski, Kristian Dacey and Dmitri Arhip alongside a second row partnership of Matthew Screech and Seb Davies.

Director of Rugby, Young, said: “We’re really looking forward to it. It’s a great venue to play at and I’m sure it’ll be a packed house because they have a great following.

“Gloucester went really well last season and have started off again with a good win out in Munster. We know from our own experiences that going out there isn’t easy, so it will be a big challenge for our team, especially without our internationals involved.

“But these are the challenges you want and it will certainly give us an indication of where we are before the season starts. 

“That’s what you’re looking for in friendlies, is to find out what’s working and things you still need to work on to get to an area where you’re comfortable.

“Pretty much everyone who is available for us is involved. Anyone not involved will either have a niggle, a longer term injury or are the international boys. Our internationals are still going through their early pre-season, but these players have been here from the start and deserve an opportunity.

“I know they’re really eager to go out and show they can put their hands up, because in many ways the slate is wiped clean. 

“That happens every season. Internationals have earned a right for everyone to understand where they are, but throughout the squad everyone is jockeying for positions, which is healthy.”

An extended bench includes a combination of youth and experience, with Wales under-20 hooker Efan Daniel , having made his solitary first team appearance in January’s win over Leinster.

Ellis Bevan, Teddy Williams and Gwilym Bradley are amongst the other youngsters looking to make their mark from the bench, while Director of Rugby, Young, also has the experience of Rhys Priestland, Matthew Morgan and Rory Thornton to call upon.

Cardiff Rugby: Jacob Beetham; Owen Lane, Mason Grady, Max Llewellyn, Aled Summerhill; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Corey Domachowski, Kristian Dacey, Dmitri Arhip, Matthew Screech, Seb Davies, Shane Lewis-Hughes, James Botham, Josh Turnbull (capt.)

Replacements: Efan Daniel, Brad Thyer, Keiron Assiratti, Rory Thornton, Teddy Williams, Gwilym Bradley, Ellis Bevan, Rhys Priestland, Harri Millard, Jason Harries, Matthew Morgan