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Preview: Bath v Cardiff Blues

24th January 2014 10:04

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Fit again: Owen Williams

Centre Owen Williams will make his playing comeback as a young Cardiff Blues side face Bath Rugby in the LV=Cup at The Rec.

Williams has not featured for Blues since mid-October but, after recovering from injury suffered during the autumn internationals, is named in the starting line-up as Blues look to keep cup hopes alive.

Director of Rugby Phil Davies rings the changes for the cup clash and gives many of his young stars the chance to shine in the Pool 2 encounter.

Owen Williams is paired with Dafydd Hewitt in midfield while Tom Williams is called up for a wing berth. Dan Fish is named at full-back while Simon Humberstone and Lewis Jones combine at half-back.

Flanker Ellis Jenkins will captain the side from the back-row alongside Rory Watts-Jones and Luke Hamilton at number eight.

James Down is selected in the second row while a new-look front row will see prop Thomas Davies and hooker Rhys Williams pack down alongside Benoit Bourrust.

Loosehead prop Lewis Smout and Academy front-row Callum Lewis are named among the replacements with Ben Roach who could make his Blues debut.

"The LV=Cup is all about youngsters stepping up and trying to make an impression. It's a good opportunity for people to step up and hopefully claim a jersey than going forward into the league games," said Jenkins.

"Obviously we want to win this game on the weekend. We are looking for a good performance from some youngsters and hopefully we can make a good impression.

"Bath are a good team with a big squad.

"They will have had a number of international call ups, so we don't know what kind of team will be playing, but whatever team they pick it will be a big side. We will have to step up to the mark."

Meanwhile, second row Dominic Day will lead Bath.

Day is joined at lock by Ryan Caldwell, as Anthony Perenise shifts to loosehead prop. Ross Batty starts at hooker, with Juan Pablo Orlandi completing the front-row on the tight.

Alafoti Fa'osiliva comes in on the openside flank, with Matt Garvey and Leroy Houston continue on the blindside and at number eight respectively.

Micky Young is partnered by Tom Heathcote in the half-backs, with a new pairing of Ollie Devoto and Matt Banahan running the midfield.

Tom Biggs and Richard Lane start out wide, with Horacio Agulla named at full-back in place of Anthony Watson, who is on international duty, and Nick Abendanon, who has a slight knock.

The teams:

Bath: 15 Horacio Agulla, 14 Richard Lane, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Micky Young, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Alafoti Fa'osiliva, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Dominic Day (c), 3 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Anthony Perenise
Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guinazu, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 David Sisi, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Mat Gilbert, 22 Martin Roberts, 23 Gavin Henson

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Owen Williams, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Simon Humberstone, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Luke Hamilton, 7 Ellis Jenkins (c), 6 Rory-Watts Jones, 5 James Down, 4 Chris Dicomidis, 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Rhys Williams, 1 Thomas Davies
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Lewis Smout, 18 Callum Lewis, 19 Miles Normandale, 20 Ben Roach, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Gavin Evans, 23 Owen Jenkins

Referee: Dean Richards (England)
Assistant referees: Jonathan Healy (England), Andrew Pearce (England)
Timekeeper: Nick Robinson (England)

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