Wing Blaine Scully will captain Cardiff Blues in Saturday’s Guinness PRO12 clash against Leinster at RDS Arena (KO 3.00pm)
The USA international, who has skippered his country on various occasions, is one of five changes head coach Danny Wilson has made to the starting line-up, following the 23-12 defeat to Munster earlier in the month.
Scully and Alex Cuthbert are named on the wings, partnering full-back Matthew Morgan in the back three, and replacing Tom James and Aled Summerhill respectively.
Kristian Dacey returns from international duty to start at hooker, and is the only change amongst the starting pack.
Tomos Williams is given the nod at scrum-half, with namesake, Lloyd, named on the bench. Gareth Anscombe continues his role at outside half.
Rey Lee-Lo replaces Willis Halaholo at outside centre, with Steven Shingler keeping his place at 12.
Meanwhile, club captain, Gethin Jenkins, makes a long-awaited return from a bicep injury and will start the game on the bench.
Elsewhere, Ellis Jenkins, who also returns from a recent injury lay-out, is named amongst the replacements.
Wilson believes the two weeks without competitive action has given his squad an opportunity to recover from an intense period of the season and he is pleased with the work done on the training ground during the past fortnight.
“I think the two weeks has given some of the boys an opportunity to recover and we’ve got a relatively healthy squad,” said Wilson.
“For the first time in a few weeks we’ve had more than thirty players fully-fit to train which has allowed us to prepare much better than we have previously.
“The long-term injured are obviously still injured but we are certainly looking a lot more healthy than we were even a month ago.
“We have won more games on the road than we did last year, comfortably. We knew going into pre-season that we wanted to improve our away record.
“We went about ways of targeting away games in the preparations, and we’ve certainly achieved that. But consistency is something we’ll need to build upon for next season.
“It’s about building performances now, and we need a performance away at Leinster to then go into a quarter final against Gloucester the very next week, which is a key target game for us
“We’ve got some big games ahead of us and they’re games we’re going to take extremely seriously, because if we don’t make the top six we can be in a play-off spot which gives us an opportunity to make the Champions Cup next year.”
Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Alex Cuthbert, Rey Lee-Lo, Steven Shingler, Blaine Scully (C); Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams; Corey Domachowski, Kristian Dacey, Anton Peikrishvili, George Earle, Jarrad Hoeata, Macauley Cook, Josh Navidi, Nick Williams
Replacements: Matthew Rees, Gethin Jenkins, Scott Andrews, Sion Bennett, Ellis Jenkins, Lloyd Williams, Willis Halaholo, Tom James
25 Mar 2017
12 May 2017