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Wilson makes 13 changes for Connacht

24th November 2016

Ellis Jenkins captains Cardiff Blues as a host of first team regulars return to face Connacht in the Guinness PRO12.

Danny Wilson has made a total of 13 changes to the side that faced the Ospreys in the Anglo-Welsh Cup as attention turns back to Championship action.
Blaine Scully and Rey Lee-Lo return following their international exploits, with USA and Samoa respectively, and are joined in the backline by scrum-half Tomos Williams, who has been released by Wales, along with Alex Cuthbert.
Rhys Gill, Kristian Dacey and Scott Andrews have also been made available to start in the front row, while Josh Navidi has recovered from injury to start at number eight.
Head coach Wilson said: "The squad have trained really well, with some of them having had a break over the Anglo-Welsh Cup period, which they needed to recover from ten straight games on the bounce.
"They have had time to do some work on conditioning, skills and a game-plan for Connacht. They've come back as a whole group and trained well over the past few days in pretty horrendous conditions.
“During the last two weeks we’ve also managed to get a couple of injured players back which is a boost and are fortunate to have five Wales squad members released.”
Connacht, the reigning Guinness PRO12 champions, have won just two fixtures in the competition this season but won the corresponding encounter during their march to the title last year.
However the Blues have a good record against the Galway-based province and Wilson hopes a victory will kick-start a crucial run of fixtures both in the PRO12 and Europe.
He added: "It's the start of 'block two' for us now that includes games against Connacht, Ulster, Bath twice, Dragons and Scarlets over Christmas. It's a huge block.
"Block one was 10 games of rugby, including two in Europe, and we won seven out of ten games. It was a period that was relatively successful. The disappointments were the couple of derbies we didn't perform to a level we wanted to.
"We now have an opportunity to go to Connacht, the champions, and it would be great for us to pick up a win that we haven't had there in a while.
"Having said that, we hadn't won at Treviso, Munster or Zebre in a while and we managed to do that.
“We will be looking for another away win, but we know it doesn't get any tougher than Connacht.”
Cardiff Blues: Dan Fish; Blaine Scully, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Tom James; Steve Shingler, Tomos Williams; Rhys Gill, Kristian Dacey, Scott Andrews, George Earle, Jarrad Hoeata, Josh Turnbull, Ellis Jenkins (capt), Josh Navidi.
Replacements: Matthew Rees, Brad Thyer, Taufa’ao Filise, Macauley Cook, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Rhodri Davies, Alex Cuthbert, Matthew Morgan.