Kristian Dacey will captain Cardiff Blues in Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 derby against the Ospreys (3.15pm) as one of six changes to the starting line-up that faced the Scarlets.
Wales’ Capital Region were left frustrated following their slender loss to the reigning champions but are back in derby action for the third time in 11 days at the Liberty Stadium.
With several key players returning to fitness, head coach Danny Wilson has reshuffled his side with Lloyd Williams and Jarrod Evans coming in at half-back.
Gareth Anscombe switches to full-back and is joined in the back three by Alex Cuthbert, who makes his first start since being injured on Wales duty.
There are three more changes in the pack with Anton Peikrishvili returning alongside Dacey in the front-row and Damian Welch given the nod ahead of George Earle in the second-row.
The Blues have not triumphed at the Liberty Stadium since 2005 but claimed a stunning 35-17 victory over their rivals the last time the two sides met in a first team fixture.
Wilson said: “We were extremely disappointed we didn’t come out of the Scarlets game with a win, we dominated almost every area of the game and did everything bar win.
“We certainly go to the Liberty Stadium confident that we can test them, but they have been playing much better over the last month.
“They have gone back to traditional Ospreys. They have a bit more line speed in defence, they’re a bit more direct and set-piece based in their attack and we have to be able to deal with that.
“But if we can perform with the same intensity, ferocity and dominate the areas of the game that we dominated against the Scarlets then there’s no reason why we can’t go to the Liberty and get a win.
“That win in the stadium got the monkey off our back and to go to the Liberty and to get a win would be one step further.
“It all makes for another great occasion. We’re really keen to finish the three derbies with a win, we should be sat here with two wins but we’re sat here with one and we want to finish with another.”
Cardiff Blues club captain Gethin Jenkins also makes his latest return to action following the facial injury he suffered on his comeback against the Dragons on boxing day.
Cardiff Blues: Gareth Anscombe; Alex Cuthbert, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Owen Lane; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Gill, Kristian Dacey (capt), Anton Peikrishvili, Damian Welch, Josh Turnbull, Josh Navidi, Olly Robinson, Nick Williams.
Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Gethin Jenkins, Dillon Lewis, George Earle, Ellis Jenkins, Tomos Williams, Garyn Smith, Matthew Morgan.
05 Jan 2018
05 Jan 2018