Cardiff Blues under-18 have made 14 changes as they prepare to welcome Dragons to the Arms Park for a crucial WRU Regional Age Championship clash on Wednesday (KO 7.00pm).
Top of the table Cardiff Blues host the Dragons in their third match in eight days, following recent bonus point victories over Scarlets and RGC.
A number of the players who featured in the stunning 48-7 win over Scarlets return to the starting line-up, including the entire backline, who were rested for the trip to north Wales on Sunday.
Evan Lloyd returns to the number eight jersey as captain, but fellow back row, Ethan Fackrell, is ruled out with a minor knee injury, paving the way for Gwilym Evans to join Alex Mann on the flanks, having impressed in recent weeks.
Rhys Barrett is the sole survivor from the win over RGC in Colwyn Bay, and he is joined by the returning Ellis Fackrell and Efan Daniel in the front row.
Dragons are expected to name a side containing a number of Coleg Gwent’s WRU Schools and Colleges League final, who defeated Coleg y Cymoedd in the final.
Joint head coach, Craig Everett, said: “As a coaching group, we were really proud of the boys’ effort on Sunday. The priority for us in the pathway is development, so to see those boys stepping in, buying into the game-plan and continuing to set high standards was really pleasing to see.
“The short turn-around between these three games has been testing for the squad, but we’re excited to get out there. Hopefully we will be able to continue to build on the momentum we’ve gained over the last two games.
“There’s still work to be done and areas to improve on, but we’re very happy with the boys’ attitude so far.
“It’ll be a tough challenge. Dragons are defending champions, and a lot of their boys will have confidence from their campaign with Coleg Gwent recently.
“But it’s been a long time since we played at the Arms Park and we’re excited to play in front of our home crowd. It has the potential to be a real cracker.”
All three of the Blues’ remaining games in the Championship will be played at home. Following this evening’s encounter, they will host Ospreys on Tuesday, February 11 before concluding the campaign against Scarlets on February 18.
Cardiff Blues under-18: Oliver James; Jake Thomas, McCauley Rowley, Ryan Wilkins, Theo Cabango; Ben Burnell, Harvey Nash; Ellis Fackrell, Efan Daniel, Rhys Barrett, Rhys Anstey, Cai James, Alex Mann, Gwilym Evans, Evan Lloyd (capt.)
Replacements: Corben Evans, Travis Green, Jack Dauncey, Rhys Dauncey, Dylan Williams, Will O’Connor, Tyler Morris, Cameron Winnett