Josh Turnbull will captain Cardiff Blues against his former region as Danny Wilson makes seven changes to face the Scarlets.
The Blues host their Welsh rivals at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park as part of Guinness PRO12’s second Big Weekend.
Turnbull switches from number eight to openside flanker, in the absence of Sam Warburton and Ellis Jenkins, who has been training with Wales, with Cam Dolan coming into last week’s back-row.
They have however been boosted by the release of Rhys Gill and Lloyd Williams from Wales duty.
Elsewhere Matthew Morgan, Rey Lee-Lo, Tom James and Tomos Williams all return to the starting line-up while George Earle makes a well-timed comeback from injury.
Wales’ Capital Region completed a double over Wayne Pivac’s men last season but head coach Wilson anticipates a full-blooded Welsh derby.
Wilson said: “The derbies are our biggest games, they are where we get our biggest crowds and hopefully that will still be the case without some of the internationals.
“It’s a challenge we are ready to meet and we certainly have a squad of players who are hungry and excited to play in that derby. Hopefully they will put a performance in to get another home win.
“The Scarlets are always a very tough fixture, they are playing with a shape that gives them a lot of width at the moment and are playing a high-temp wide game which we will have to deal with.
“We have to make sure our defensive display is as good as it has been at times this season and that we can test them with our attacking game.
“It is still a derby, it will still have that edge and it’s a home game against the Scarlets.”
New signing Willis Halaholo has trained with the squad this week and while available for selection, Wilson has opted to give the centre more time.
Wilson added: “Willis has looked good in training but he is still getting up to speed with our calls and attacking shape. We required back-three cover on the bench and Dan Fish gives us this but I’m looking forward to seeing Willis out there in the coming weeks.”
Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Blaine Scully, Cory Allen, Rey Lee-Lo, Tom James; Steve Shingler, Tomos Williams; Rhys Gill, Kirby Myhill, Taufa’ao Filise, George Earle, James Down, Macauley Cook, Josh Turnbull (capt), Cam Dolan.
Replacements: Matthew Rees, Brad Thyer, Dillon Lewis, Seb Lewis, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Lloyd Williams, Jarrod Evans, Dan Fish.
27 Oct 2016
25 Oct 2016
23 Jun 2017