Boost for Cardiff as quarantined players return

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·3-min read
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  • Gareth Davies
    Welsh rugby union footballer
  • Lloyd Williams
    Rugby union player
  • Scott Williams
    Welsh rugby union player
  • Jonathan Davies
    Welsh rugby union footballer, and rugby league footballer and administrator
  • Rhys Priestland
    Welsh rugby union player
  • Liam Williams
    Welsh rugby union player
  • Matthew Morgan
    Welsh rugby union player

Cardiff Rugby welcome a host of senior players back for the Boxing Day derby clash against Scarlets at Cardiff Arms Park.

With 42 players unavailable for the recent European double-header, a mix of Welsh internationals, academy youngsters and semi-professional players proudly represented the club against Toulouse and Harlequins over the past fortnight.

However, those who were in enforced quarantine following the trip to South Africa have now returned to contention, as Ellis Jenkins leads the side out for the derby encounter.

James Botham, who impressed in the Champions Cup upon his return from injury, also retains his starting spot in the back-row – reverting to number eight – with Will Boyde introduced at openside.

Matthew Screech is recalled into the second-row, linking up with fellow academy graduate Seb Davies, while the front-row trio of Corey Domachowski, Kirby Myhill and Dmitri Arhip complete the pack.

Lloyd Williams and Rhys Priestland will start at half-back, with Ben Thomas slotting in at inside centre to combine with Rey Lee-Lo in midfield.

An exciting back three combination of Josh Adams, Owen Lane and Matthew Morgan complete the starting line-up.

Liam Williams back for Scarlets

Meanwhile, Liam Williams is back in the Scarlets side for Boxing Day’s United Rugby Championship clash with Cardiff at the Arms Park.

The Wales international missed the opening block of fixtures after having his appendix removed, but after returning to action for his country during the autumn, the British & Irish Lion will pull on the Scarlets colours on Sunday.

Williams slots in at full-back in a side showing four changes from the team selected for the postponed Champions Cup tie against Bordeaux.

Johnny McNicholl and Ryan Conbeer are named on the wings. Steff Evans picked up an ankle injury in training this week.

Jonathan Davies captains the side and again partners fellow international Scott Williams in midfield.

Dan Jones starts at fly-half and links up with British & Irish Lion Gareth Davies. Sam Costelow took a knock to his shoulder in training which has ruled him out of contention.

Rob Evans, Ryan Elias and new Scotland cap Javan Sebastian make up an all-international front-row, while Sam Lousi and Tom Price pack down in the second-row.

Denied his comeback last weekend, flanker Josh Macleod is poised to make his first appearance since rupturing his Achilles in February.

Macleod is named at openside in a back-row that includes Blade Thomson and Sione Kalamafoni.

On the bench, 21-year-old tight-head Harri O’Connor could make his URC debut. Wyn Jones, Marc Jones, Aaron Shingler and Pumas back-rower Tomas Lezana provide the rest of the forward cover.

Wales international Rhys Patchell is set to make his first competitive appearance since October 2020 after being named as one of the backline replacements along with Kieran Hardy and Ioan Nicholas.

Prediction: Cardiff by 5

The teams:

Cardiff: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Owen Lane, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Ben Thomas, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 James Botham, 7 Will Boyde, 6 Ellis Jenkins (c), 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Seb Davies, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Kirby Myhill, 1 Corey Domachowski
Replacements: 16 Liam Belcher, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Will Davies-King, 19 James Ratti, 20 Shane Lewis-Hughes, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Jason Harries

Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Jonathan Davies (c), 12 Scott Williams, 11 Ryan Conbeer, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Josh Macleod, 6 Blade Thomson, 5 Tom Price, 4 Sam Lousi, 3 Javan Sebastian, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Harri O’Connor, 19 Aaron Shingler, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Ioan Nicholas

Venue: Cardiff Arms Park
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)
Assistant referees: Aled Evans (Wales), Mike English (Wales)
TMO: Sean Brickell (Wales)

The article Boost for Cardiff as quarantined players return appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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