Alun Lawrence will captain Cardiff Blues A as they make seven changes for Saturday’s penultimate Celtic Cup clash against Connacht Eagles at Cardiff Arms Park (KO 2.30pm).
Wales’ Capital Region welcome three Indigo Group Premiership players into the backline, including Cardiff RFC duo Barney Nightingale, who wears the number 12 jersey, and wing Joe Gatt.
They are joined by Merthyr’s Sam Jones, who made a move to the Ironmen from RGC over the summer, while academy players Ioan Davies, Ethan Lloyd and Rhys Davies retain their spots alongside Wales Sevens’ Dafydd Smith.
In the pack, skipper Lawrence is joined in the back row by Cardiff Met’s Aled Ward, who returns to the number six jersey, and Gwilym Bradley, who makes his first start of the campaign.
Teddy Williams is reintroduced into the second row to partner Ben Murphy, while there is a new face at loosehead in the form of Brynley Toms who combines with Ethan Lewis and Will Davies King in the front row.
With back-to-back home games to finish the campaign, joint head coach Gethin Jenkins is eager to see his side wrap up the Celtic Cup in positive fashion.
“We’ve had a disappointing run of results in the last two games, but we’ve been encouraged by signs of the performance, and all we can ask for as a coaching team is for the side to build on that once again this week.
“Hopefully some of the Premiership boys coming in will add a bit of experience into the backline in particular, which will help the likes of Ethan Lloyd, Rhys Davies and Mason Grady.
“If we can minimise our individual errors, it should put us in good stead, because against Ospreys and Munster we were strong in areas but weren’t able to be ruthless enough with taking our chances.
“It’s an opportunity to come back to the Arms Park, and with two games to go we want to finish this block of games with some pride in front of our home supporters.
“As always we’re grateful to the local clubs, Cardiff, Merthyr, Cardiff Met and Pontypridd for their support with the A team programme, and we’re looking forward to see how these boys make the step up again.”
James Down returns to action amongst the replacements, and is joined by Pontypridd outside half Diggy Bird.
Cardiff Blues A: Ioan Davies; Sam Jones, Dafydd Smith, Barney Nightingale, Joe Gatt; Rhys Davies, Ethan Lloyd; Brynley Toms, Ethan Lewis, Will Davies King, Ben Murphy, Teddy Williams, Aled Ward, Gwilym Bradley, Alun Lawrence (capt)
Replacements: Cameron Lewis, Lewis Francis, Ollie Drake, James Down, Tim Grey, Zach Bartlett, Diggy Bird, Mason Grady