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Warburton to make 100th appearance against Dragons

Guinness PRO14 Rugby Editor

23 Dec 2016

Sam Warburton

Sam Warburton will captain Cardiff Blues as he makes his 100th appearance for the region in the Guinness PRO12 Boxing Day derby with Newport Gwent Dragons.

The 28-year-old made his debut for the Blues in 2009 and recently penned a new national dual contract to remain at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.

He continues as skipper, in the absence of Gethin Jenkins, as Danny Wilson makes five changes to the starting line-up that faced Bath.

The Blues have been boosted by the return to fitness of Kristian Dacey, Nick Williams, Tom James and Alex Cuthbert, while Scott Andrews steps into the starting line-up.

Cardiff Blues have won their last three Championship encounters against their east Wales rivals and are aiming to bounce back following two consecutive defeats in the competition.

Head coach Wilson said: “The boys are excited to get back on the pitch and you could not ask for a better fixture than our local rivals on Boxing Day.

“The extended turnaround has allowed us to get some players back fit and it was a good selection discussion following the way our squad has been tested in recent weeks.

“We pride ourselves on Welsh derbies and following defeats to the Ospreys and Scarlets this season we are determined to get back to winning ways.”

More than 9,000 tickets have already been sold for the Big Weekend clash and a sell-out crowd is expected at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.

A limited number of tickets are still available in the north terrace and Wilson is relishing what he expects to be a feverish atmosphere.

Wilson added: “We have great supporters here at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park and have been really pleased with our home crowds this season.

“They certainly fire the boys on and we are all really excited to play in front of a packed house.”

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Alex Cuthbert, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Tom James; Steven Shingler, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Gill, Kristian Dacey, Scott Andrews, Macauley Cook, James Down, Josh Navidi, Sam Warburton (capt), Nick Williams.

Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Brad Thyer, Taufa’ao Filise, Jarrad Hoeata, Ellis Jenkins, Tomos Williams, Nicky Robinson, Cory Allen.

The following players were unavailable for selection:

Lewis Jones
Dan Fish
Aled Summerhill
Gethin Jenkins
Gareth Anscombe
Josh Turnbull
Ethan Lewis
Dillon Lewis
Shane Lewis-Hughes
James Sheekey
Jarrod Evans
Rhun Williams
Blaine Scully
George Earle
Anton Peikrishvili