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International quartet return for Cardiff Blues' trip to Ulster

30th November 2018

Welsh internationals, Dillon Lewis and Tomos Williams, return to the Cardiff Blues matchday squad for Saturday's Guinness PRO14 clash against Ulster at Kingspan Stadium (KO 3.00pm).

The duo, who played their part in a first-ever autumn clean sweep for Warren Gatland’s side, will be amongst the replacements at the Northern Irish-capital.

John Mulvihill has made six changes ahead of the trip to Belfast, including USA international Samu Manoa, who is set to feature in the starting line-up for the first time since his summer move from RC Toulon.

Manoa featured as a replacement for the Eagles in the loss to Ireland at Aviva Stadium last week, and joins Olly Robinson and Nick Williams in the back row. Number eight, Williams, returns to his old stomping ground, having spent four seasons at Ulster.

Two experienced Welsh international props are introduced as Scott Andrews and Rhys Gill combine with Kristian Dacey in the front row.

Three changes are made in the backline, as Rey Lee-Lo returns from international action to form a new-look midfield partnership with Harri Millard, who impressed from the bench against Glasgow Warriors last week.

Despite only being on the field for 24 minutes, the young centre topped the PRO14 charts for ‘Defenders Beaten’ in round eight, with seven, earning a first ever start in the Championship.

Matthew Morgan is also called into the line-up, replacing Tom Williams at full back.

Head coach Mulvihill said: “This week will be important once again and then we can park the PRO14 before we start again, back into Europe.

“We have a strong leadership group still involved in the programme but our on-field leadership needs to step up this week. Ulster will give us a lot of opportunities so we need to make sure we’re in the right positions to take them.

“I’m looking for the likes of Jarrod Evans and Steven Shingler to take responsibility when they’re on the field, as well as boys like Josh Turnbull who will step up to become an even more important player than he already is.

“You’ll always get leadership from Olly [Robinson] but I’d hope that guys like Tomos Williams and Dillon Lewis, who have had Test match rugby recently, will bring that form and intensity to our game as well.

“Obviously Ellis Jenkins is out injured and Gareth Anscombe has a minor foot injury that will need a week to recover from, and he should be ready to go for Saracens.”

Scrum half Lloyd Williams, who leads the way for Cardiff Blues appearance within the current squad, is retained as captain.

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Aled Summerhill, Harri Millard, Rey Lee-Lo, Jason Harries; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams (capt.); Rhys Gill, Kristian Dacey, Scott Andrews, Seb Davies, Josh Turnbull, Samu Manoa, Olly Robinson, Nick Williams

Replacements: Liam Belcher, Rhys Carré, Dillon Lewis, George Earle, James Down, Tomos Williams, Steven Shingler, Garyn Smith