Dai Young is set to recall several first team stars for Cardiff Blues’ Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup clash with the Dragons on Sunday.
The Cardiff director of rugby fielded a mixed 23 for the opening round defeat to the Ospreys two weeks ago but was pleased with outcome as several players and experimental selections stood up against a full-loaded Liberty Stadium outfit.
He will continue to hand opportunities to the entire squad as the Rainbow Cup continues but will blend that with further first team regulars for Sunday’s Arms Park encounter.
Young said: “You always want to win and are never happy losing but it was important to give me the opportunity to look at some of the squad players I hadn’t seen.
“We learnt a few things, some positive and some things not so positive. We were playing against a much more experienced team. For big parts of the game we did okay but it got away from us. It was an exercise that needed to happen.
“This week we will be much stronger. I wouldn’t say we will be full strength or what most people perceive to be full strength but we will be much closer to it.
“We’re respecting this competition but it’s also a real opportunity to sort through what could be a starting 23 moving forward to next year. It’s important to give people opportunities to force their way into that but as this competition goes we will get closer and closer to our best 23.”
One player who is definitely in contention to feature is number eight Sam Moore, who joined Wales’ Capital Region a year ago.
The former England Under-20s powerhouse arrived from Sale Sharks in the final stages of rehab following knee surgery but has endured a frustrating spell.
He had to bide his to fully recover and featured in pre-season but was then put on a reconditioning programme.
When his competitive debut finally came out in Munster at the end of October, it lasted just minutes as he flew out of the line to make a monstrous tackle, only to be knocked out by a knee to the head in the subsequent clear-out.
If things could not then be made worse, having worked his way back into selection he suffered a knee ligament injury in training, keeping him on the sidelines for another three months.
But he is now fit and firing and Young is hoping the son of former Cardiff second-row Steve Moore can stay injury free to fulfil his vast potential.
Young said: “There’s nothing worse than going to a new club and being plagued with injuries. You want to put your hand up, show everyone what you’re made of and why you’ve been brought to the club but unfortunately he hasn’t had that opportunity.
“He is quite a quiet lad but he’s eager to get out on the field and we’re looking forward to seeing him out there and starting to fulfil his potential.
“He’s had nothing but bad luck but I remember during my first coaching stint at the Blues one player we were constantly talking about, whether he would put a run of games together and kick on was Sam Warburton.
“In his early days he got a lot of injuries and there was lots of talk about whether he would fulfil his potential but he put all that behind him and he went on to do the great things that he did.
“These things happen with young players but we hope now Sam Moore can go through an injury free spell and show people what he’s made of.”