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Winnett set for URC debut in season finale

First Team News | 19th May 2022

Cardiff academy full back Cameron Winnett will make his United Rugby Championship debut in the season finale against Benetton Rugby on Friday (KO 6.00pm BST).

The Blue and Blacks head to Italy looking to secure a third consecutive victory to close out the 2021/22 campaign.

Nineteen-year-old Winnett made a try-scoring, first team debut against Harlequins in December and has starred for Cardiff RFC throughout their title-winning campaign.

The Wales under-20 international lines up in an outside backs division with an average age of 21, and is joined in the back three by Owen Lane and Theo Cabango, who have both impressed in recent weeks.

Mason Grady is introduced into the midfield to make his first start of the season, having recently recovered from a knee injury. Grady, who remains eligible for Wales under-20, is paired up with fellow academy graduate Max Llewellyn in the centre.

The young backs will be steered by an experienced half back partnership of Rhys Priestland and Lloyd Williams, who played crucial roles in last week’s derby win over Dragons.

Following Liam Belcher’s red card last week, Kristian Dacey returns to the number two jersey in an otherwise unchanged front five. 

Ellis Jenkins captains the side from the openside, and forms the back row alongside Shane Lewis-Hughes and James Ratti.

Cardiff director of rugby, Dai Young said: “We were pleased to secure back-to-back wins last week and now we are determined to finish the season on a high with three.

“It has been a frustrating and very disrupted season but we now have the opportunity to sign off on a positive note and have something to build into next year with.

“Playing so many consecutive games has been a real challenge and a lot of players are battered and bruised so we have made a few more changes.

“It will be a big test, and Benetton will be confident after winning last week, so we need to focus on our own game and roles and execute to the best of our ability.”

Josh Turnbull continues his recovery from a recent calf injury as he is once again named on the bench. Young hooker Efan Daniel, who made his senior bow in the dramatic win over Leinster earlier this season, is back available to be included amongst the replacements.

Cardiff Rugby: Cam Winnett; Owen Lane, Mason Grady, Max Llewellyn, Theo Cabango; Rhys Priestland, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Carré, Kristian Dacey, Dmitri Arhip, Seb Davies, Matthew Screech, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Ellis Jenkins, James Ratti.

Replacements: Efan Daniel, Corey Domachowski, Dillon Lewis, Teddy Williams, Josh Turnbull, Ellis Bevan, Ben Thomas, Jason Harries

Unavailable for selection: Theo Bevacqua, Rhys Gill, Willis Halaholo, Will Davies-King, Hallam Amos, Rory Thornton, Garyn Smith, Jacob Beetham, Scott Andrews, Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams, Aled Summerhill, Keiron Assiratti, Josh Adams