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Williams and Faletau set for Cardiff debuts in season curtain raiser

First Team News | 16th September 2022

Liam Williams and Taulupe Faletau both start as Cardiff host Munster on the opening day of the BKT United Rugby Championship (KO 3.05pm).

The Blue and Blacks take on the Irish province at the Arms Park on Saturday, with the Wales, and British & Irish Lions duo, who joined from Scarlets and Bath in the summer, both set for their debuts.

They are joined in the starting line-up by fellow summer recruit, Thomas Young, with Lopeti Timani named on the bench for the curtain raiser.


Cardiff director of rugby, Dai Young said: “Our new signings have been fantastic. You can see their obvious quality in and around training and the fact that they have played in other top level environments. They will bring a something a little bit different both on and off the pitch.

“We've been really pleased with what they have shown us so far and it would be great for them to really show what they can do in a Cardiff jersey come Saturday.”

Williams is joined by another Lion - Josh Adams - in an exciting all-international back three, which is completed by Owen Lane.

Tomos Williams returns to the starting line-up for form a familiar half back partnership with Jarrod Evans, as Max Llewellyn and Samoan international Rey Lee-Lo are paired together in midfield.

Faletau dons the number eight jersey, with Young and James Botham occupying the flanks. Openside Young makes his first Cardiff appearance in nine years, having re-joined his boyhood club following a lengthy spell with Wasps.

Skipper Josh Turnbull links up with Seb Davies in the boiler room, while Rhys Carré, Kristian Dacey and Dillon Lewis make an all International front-row.

Munster have triumphed on the last six occasions the sides have met but Cardiff will be determined to kick-off the season on a positive, at the Arms Park, where they have won five of their last seven URC fixtures. 

Young added: “There has been a lot of hard work that’s gone into pre-season, trying new things and new combinations but the telling time is when you play that first game. 

“You’re not going to get a better fixture to get excited about than Munster at home.

“Since I've been here we've pushed them close a couple of times and not actually got on the right side of the result. So it would be fantastic really.

“I expect us to be hugely competitive against them and we're at home and I'm confident we can get the result, as long as we play something like we can play.”

There is plenty of firepower and experience on the bench, with the likes of Lloyd Williams, Dmitri Arhip, Rhys Priestland and Uilisi Halaholo included alongside Tongan international Timani, who has also represented the Wallabies.

Academy loosehead prop Rhys Barratt, who impressed for Wales under-20 over the summer, is in line for his first team debut as he is included amongst the replacements.

Cardiff Rugby: Liam Williams; Owen Lane, Rey Lee-Lo, Max Llewellyn, Josh Adams; Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Rhys Carré, Kristian Dacey, Dillon Lewis, Josh Turnbull (capt.), Seb Davies, James Botham, Thomas Young, Taulupe Faletau

Replacements: Liam Belcher, Rhys Barratt, Dmitri Arhip, Matthew Screech, Lopeti Timani, Lloyd Williams, Rhys Priestland, Uilisi Halaholo


Ben Thomas (shoulder) - November

Josh Navidi (Neck) - October/November

Kirby Myhill (Hamstring) - September

Theo Cabango (Shoulder) - September

James Ratti (Glute) - September

Corey Domachowski (Hamstring)

Brad Thyer (Hamstring)

Ellis Jenkins - Back in full training.