Cardiff welcome a host of Wales’ summer internationals back into the matchday squad for the final pre-season clash against Bath at Cardiff Arms Park on Friday (KO 7.15pm).
After a thrilling 11-try clash against English champions Harlequins last week, director of rugby Dai Young has opted to rotate his squad, with a total of 11 changes made to the starting line-up.
With only two weeks remaining until the Blue and Blacks kick off their United Rugby Championship campaign against Connacht, the wholesale changes mean the majority of available players will have had pre-season involvement ahead of the competitive season.
Josh Turnbull, who returned to the international scene over the summer, will captain the side and is joined in the back row by Will Boyde, who makes a long-awaited return following a facial injury suffered in November 2020.
James Ratti makes the switch to the number eight jersey as Seb Davies is drafted into the second row to partner Rory Thornton.
Homegrown duo Corey Domachowski and Liam Belcher join Moldova international Dmitri Arhip in a new-look front row.
Wales duo Hallam Amos and Owen Lane are introduced to the back three, alongside Jason Harries, with Rey Lee-Lo making his first appearance of the season in midfield.
Rhys Priestland will make his home debut for Cardiff against his former club, linking up with fellow international, Lloyd Williams, at half back.
Director of rugby, Young, said: “We’re at two stages, like any director of rugby are at this stage of the season. There’s certain guys that came back earlier in pre-season than certain others.
“You’ve obviously got to filter the internationals in. Last week we had the guys that have been here from the word go and none of our internationals were available for last week.
“It gave those boys an opportunity to put their hand up.
“We’re expecting a big challenge and first and foremost we must match them physically. If you don’t do that, you’ll get steam-rolled, but if you do then you’ll have a chance.
“We’ll pay them the respect they deserve but at this stage of the season we’re more worried about us. We’re looking to have an 80 minute performance.
“Most of our internationals are back involved so it will be great to see them back out there and I think we’ll have a better indication of where we are come Friday evening.”
International trio Rhys Carré, Dillon Lewis and Willis Halaholo also return to the matchday squad and are named on an extended bench.
Garyn Smith, Ellis Jenkins, Shane Lewis-Hughes and Ellis Bevan are also included among the replacements, as they continue their return from injury.
Tickets are available now for Friday’s mouth-watering clash, which is also included as part of the 2021/22 Season Membership package.
Cardiff Rugby: Hallam Amos; Owen Lane, Rey Lee-Lo, Max Llewellyn, Jason Harries; Rhys Priestland, Lloyd Williams; Corey Domachowski, Liam Belcher, Dmitri Arhip, Seb Davies, Rory Thornton, Josh Turnbull (capt.), Will Boyde, James Ratti
Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Rhys Carré, Dillon Lewis, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Ellis Jenkins, Ellis Bevan, Jason Tovey, Matthew Morgan, Alun Lawrence, Garyn Smith, Willis Halaholo