20/12/2019 – Guinness PRO14 Communications – Adams to make Guinness PRO14 debut as festive derbies kick off

Josh Adams will make his Guinness PRO14 debut as Cardiff Blues make two changes for the festive derby against Ospreys at Liberty Stadium.

John Mulvihill has named an unchanged backline as Wales’ Capital Region travel to Swansea on Saturday, seeking a third successive Championship victory.

Welsh international Adams featured in the back-to-back European fixtures against Pau, scoring a debut hat-trick against the French outfit.

The Rugby World Cup top try scorer is joined in the back three by Owen Lane, who also crossed for a hat-trick against the Top 14 side, and Matthew Morgan, who will wear the number 15 jersey against his former side.

Ben Thomas and Rey Lee-Lo continue their partnership in midfield, with Jarrod Evans and Tomos Williams featuring at half back.

One change in the front row sees Brad Thyer introduced at loosehead to make his 50th Guinness PRO14 appearance.

James Ratti also returns to the pack to face his former region, as Josh Turnbull joins Shane Lewis-Hughes and skipper Will Boyde in the back row.

Head coach Mulvihill expects a fiery affair at Liberty Stadium as the crucial festive period kick off.

The Australian said: “There’s going to be a real edge to this one. Our boys haven’t won away from home against Ospreys in a long time, and they’re hungry to get down there and get a big win to start the run of derby games.

“Our performances over the last few weeks have been really good, so we can travel to Swansea with some confidence and momentum.

“We want to continue to play to our strengths but we’re fully aware of the challenges ahead and how Ospreys will be looking to nullify our game. Regardless of their results this year we have a huge amount of respect and admiration for them, they always perform against Cardiff Blues.

“We’re really excited for this one but we know we will have to be at our best. A good performance and a good result would give us a boost before two massive derbies in front of our home crowd.”

Olly Robinson is named amongst the replacements, while Macauley Cook is reintroduced into the matchday 23 and adds to an already experienced bench.

The Blues return to action five days later, as they welcome Dragons to the Arms Park for a Boxing Day blockbuster, while Scarlets also visit the Welsh capital on January 3.

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Owen Lane, Rey Lee-Lo, Ben Thomas, Josh Adams; Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Brad Thyer, Kirby Myhill, Scott Andrews, Filo Paulo, James Ratti, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Will Boyde (capt.), Josh Turnbull

Replacements: Liam Belcher, Rhys Gill, Keiron Assiratti, Macauley Cook, Olly Robinson, Lloyd Williams, Jason Tovey, Hallam Amos