The Blues also welcome the return of back row forward Andy Powell and centre Tom Riley. Powell required shoulder reconstruction surgery after coming off injured in the friendly match against Bristol in August while Riley also suffered a shoulder injury in the win against Wasps in September.
Although the Backs are largely unchanged, there are a number of changes in the Pack. Returning to the starting line-up are two British Lions Gethin Jenkins and Tom Shanklin, both were unavailable for the EDF Energy Cup Semi Final at the Millennium Stadium a fortnight ago. The other changes in the Forwards see Mark Lewis joining Robin in the Back Row and Bradley Davies partnering Rob Sidoli at Second Row.
The Blues have won three of their last four games in the Magners League, with wins against the Llanelli Scarlets and Border Reivers at the Arms Park and an away win over Munster at Musgrave Park on 2 March. The only loss was against Glasgow Warriors, away, at the start of the Six Nations.
Team: Ben Blair, Tom James, Tom Shanklin (c), Marc Stcherbina, Chris Czekaj, Nicky Robinson, Mike Phillips, Mark Lewis, Robin Sowden-Taylor, Scott Morgan, Rob Sidoli, Bradley Davies, Taufa'ao Filise, Gareth Williams, Gethin Jenkins
Replacements: Scott Roberts, T. Rhys Thomas, Deiniol Jones, Andy Powell, Ed Fairhurst, Nick Macleod, Tom Riley
Having ripped the muscle from his hip while playing against Ulster in Belfast in October Rhys Williams is also aiming to be back in contention in for the Blues next week.
Gary Powell is unavailable for selection this weekend due to a minor groin strain. John Yapp and Duane Goodfield are out of action for the rest of the season with knee and shoulder injuries respectively while James Goode is hoping to be back in contention in the next week or two.
The Blues entertain Edinburgh at the Arms Park next weekend and still have to play Leinster, Ulster and Dragons at home in the final stages of the season.
CONNACHT v CARDIFF BLUES
Saturday 7 April Sportsground, 6.30pm.
Referee: Peter Allan (SRU). Touch Judges: T Collins (IRFU), P Haycock (IRFU).
Cardiff Blues 15 - Connacht 13
Cardiff Arms Park
18th November 2006
Cardiff Blues 30 - Connacht 12
Cardiff Arms Park
29th April 2006
Connacht 13 - Cardiff Blues 9
3rd September 2005
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