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Cardiff Blues make five changes for Zebre

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23 Sep 2016

Nick Williams

Cardiff Blues have rung the changes for their trip to face Zebre as they target a fourth consecutive Guinness PRO12 win.

Following victories over Edinburgh, Munster and Glasgow Warriors, Wales’ Capital Region sit third in the Championship table.

Head coach Danny Wilson has made five changes in total but retains plenty of experience for the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi encounter.

Rhys Gill, Matthew Rees and Scott Andrews form a new look front-row, Nick Williams returns to number eight and Steven Shingler gets the nod ahead of Gareth Anscombe.

Wilson said: “This is a real test to see where we are mentally. We have proved in three games that we can play some rugby and win some games but we can take nothing away from this venue – because it is still a tough place to play and a tough team – but we are going there with an expectation to win.”

While Wilson is determined to see his side maintain their 100 per cent start to the season, he is under no illusions of the magnitude of the task.

Zebre have triumphed on two of the last three visits Cardiff Blues have made on their home patch and will be buoyed by their performance against PRO12 Champions before their match was postponed due to adverse weather conditions last week.

Wilson added: “They are extremely proud of their home venue and home support and they play a sharper game of rugby both in terms of physicality and execution of skill when they are there.

“I’ve witnessed that a number of times and there are not many teams that go to Zebre and win by big margins.

“As Welsh regions generally in the last couple of years, we have struggled there. We want to put that right.

“Last year we didn’t go there with the right mind-set and attitude but I’m hoping that won’t be the case this year. We have talked about that a lot leading into this game.”

With Gethin Jenkins named among the replacements, Sam Warburton will captain the Blues in northern Italy, while Kristian Dacey will make his 100th appearance for the region if he comes off the bench.

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Blaine Scully, Cory Allen, Rey Lee-Lo, Tom James; Steven Shingler, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Gill, Matthew Rees, Scott Andrews, George Earle, Josh Turnbull, Josh Navidi, Sam Warburton (capt), Nick Williams,

Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Gethin Jenkins, Taufa’ao Filise, Macauley Cook, Ellis Jenkins, Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Garyn Smith.