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Halaholo and Williams to make their regional debuts

Danny Wilson

Willis Halaholo will make his Cardiff Blues debut as Danny Wilson makes eight changes for the Guinness PRO12 trip to face Benetton Treviso.

The Super Rugby-winning centre arrived last month and has now enjoyed more than a full week of training with his new region.

He partners former Hurricanes teammate Rey Lee-Lo in the centre, with Wales Under-20s star Rhun Williams also in line for his regional debut.

Wilson said: “He may take a little time to settle into the way we play, the structures and the rest of it, especially in the heat of the moment, but from an individual point of view he looks a class act.

“Most people who have watched him play will say his attacking strength is pretty obvious. He is powerful, he has good footwork and he played starting centre in the Hurriances side that have just won the Super Rugby title so he comes with good pedigree.”

Six of the seven players release from Wales training go straight back into the starting line-up. In the back line, Williams on the wing and namesake Lloyd Williams in the number nine jersey.

Up front Rhys Gill and Scott Andrews pack down either side of captain Matthew Rees and Sam Warburton and Ellis Jenkins start on the flanks, with Kristian Dacey on the bench.

The Blues lost last season’s corresponding fixture but have already won in Italy once in the current campaign and are determined to do so again following three consecutive Championship defeats.

Wilson added: “We have worked on having a bit more urgency on attack and defence, getting into our attacking shape a bit quicker than against the Scarlets and likewise into our defensive positions.

“Treviso are a very different proposition at home to what they are away, you only get a grip of that once you experience it. They are a tough side to beat at their place.

“We will go there with a group that will learn from being out there and that experience, but with a target to win the game.

“It’s a big achievement when you go to those places and win. It was certainly a big achievement going to Zebre and winning. We go to Treviso and our aim is exactly the same.

“If you are going to be challenging for things and in the top six, those are the types of games you go and win.

“As we know many sides go to Treviso and slip up or find it very difficult.  We are not taking this lightly, we know it will be a great win if we can get it.”

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Blaine Scully, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Rhun Williams; Steve Shingler, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Gill, Matthew Rees (capt), Scott Andrews, George Earle, Jarrad Hoeata, Sam Warburton, Ellis Jenkins, Macauley Cook

Replacements: Kris Dacey, Brad Thyer, Dillon, Lewis, James Down, Seb Davies, Tomos Williams, Jarrod Evans, Dan Fish

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