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Cuthbert returns for Europe

13th October 2016

Alex Cuthbert returns from injury as Cardiff Blues make eight changes for their European Challenge Cup clash with Bristol.

The Wales wing has been sidelined since suffering a minor groin injury in his try-scoring performance against Glasgow Warriors last month. 

But he has recovered to replace Blaine Scully as head coach Danny Wilson rings the changes following last weekend’s defeat to the Ospreys.

Rhys Gill, Matthew Rees and Scott Andrews form the front-row while former All Black Jarrad Hoeata is set to make his first appearance of the season with Josh Turnbull moving back to blindside flanker.

At scrum-half Tomos Williams gets the nod ahead of Lloyd Williams, Steven Shingler combines with Rey Lee-Lo in the centre and Matthew Morgan starts at full-back against his former club.

And following last week’s loss, Wilson, who also spent time at Ashton Gate, is determined to see his side kick-off their European conquest on a winning note.

He said: “It’s important that we bounce back from last weekend.

“Ultimately this is a very good group of players, who have shown what they are capable of and it’s certainly something we want to deal with. 

“It’s a chance to get back on the horse with a good performance in Europe.

“Bristol have a very big squad so if they make some changes they will still be strong. They have spent a lot of money and have a very big pack of forwards, a big set-piece and they play some rugby as well. 

"They will have a big crowd so it makes for a good occasion and it's a game we need to bounce back in."

Following six weeks of Guinness PRO12 action, Wilson is also looking forward to a change of focus in the European Challenge Cup.

Pau and Bath are the Blues other opponents in Pool Four, with the French club visiting BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park in Round Two.

Wilson added: “It’s another exciting European group. You have a fair few All Blacks in the Pau side, you have Bath who are really in form and Bristol are searching for a win and have a star-studded team searching for it. 

“There’s a bit of a derby feel about some of the games, a bit of history in that Matt (Sherratt) and myself both worked for Andy (Robinson) at Bristol. It will be an exciting encounter at what I’m pretty certain will be a packed Ashton Gate, which is a fantastic venue.”

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Alex Cuthbert, Rey Lee-Lo, Steven Shingler, Tom James; Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams; Rhys Gill, Matthew Rees, Scott Andrews, Jarrad Hoeata, Macauley Cook, Josh Turnbull, Ellis Jenkins (capt), Nick Williams.

Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Gethin Jenkins, Dillon Lewis, James Down, Cam Dolan, Lloyd Williams, Garyn Smith, Dan Fish.