24/12/2019 – Guinness PRO14 Communications – Cardiff Blues team to face Dragons

Cardiff Blues welcome Josh Navidi back into the starting line-up for their blockbuster Boxing Day derby against Dragons at Cardiff Arms Park (KO 3.00pm).

The back row star, who has been out of action since suffering a hamstring injury in Wales’ Rugby World Cup quarter final win over France, will captain his side against their east Wales rivals.

John Mulvihill has made a total of five changes for the encounter, as the Blues look to make it two from two in the festive derbies, following last weekend’s win over the Ospreys at Liberty Stadium.

The only changes amongst the backline sees Hallam Amos introduced at full back against his former side, replacing Matthew Morgan, who is named on the bench.

Navidi is joined in the back row by Olly Robinson, who was a replacement in the victory at Swansea, and Shane Lewis-Hughes, who penned a new long-term deal with the region earlier this week.

Two further changes are made in the front row, with Liam Belcher and Keiron Assiratti replacing Kirby Myhill and Scott Andrews, while James Ratti and Josh Turnbull form the second row.

John Mulvihill said: “We’re at home, and it’s going to be a massive crowd. It will be a big crowd here and the place will be bouncing.

“We play a good style of rugby and we’ll get the crowd into the game as well.

“They always step up to play against the Blues and both teams from the east had victories this week, so it will be a battle for who can get the bragging rights on Boxing Day.

“It will be fantastic to be around and there’s no better place to be than Cardiff Arms Park when the place is packed and the rugby is good.

“Any game here is special, but it will be brilliant to see the fans coming out for Boxing Day. It will spur us on and we can play that exciting brand of rugby that people want to see

“It’s been good to have Navs around the group after his triumphs at the World Cup and how well he played out in Japan.

“Some of the boys in his position will be able to feed off that so it’s good to have him back.”

Seb Davies has also handed Mulvihill a boost, having recovered from a knee injury to take his place on the bench, alongside fellow internationals Morgan, Lloyd Williams, Rhys Gill and Scott Andrews.

Cardiff Blues: Hallam Amos; Owen Lane, Rey Lee-Lo, Ben Thomas, Josh Adams; Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Brad Thyer, Liam Belcher, Keiron Assiratti, James Ratti, Josh Turnbull, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Olly Robinson, Josh Navidi (capt.)

Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Rhys Gill, Scott Andrews, Seb Davies, Will Boyde, Lloyd Williams, Jason Tovey, Matthew Morgan