Jason Harries will make his first start since December as Cardiff Blues welcome Isuzu Southern Kings to the Arms Park for the first time on Saturday (KO 7.35pm).
The former Wales Sevens star made his return to action from a foot injury as a replacement in last week’s clash against Edinburgh, crossing for two tries to inspire the Blues to a dramatic comeback against his former side.
The win at Murrayfield saw Wales’ Capital Region leapfrog both Connacht and Ospreys into third place in Conference A and, with five games remaining, the fight for a play-off spot is now in Cardiff Blues’ hands.
Head coach John Mulvihill has made a total of five changes for Saturday’s crucial Guinness PRO14 encounter.With Harries returning to the wing, last week’s man-of-the-match, Aled Summerhill, pulls on the number 15 jersey after impressing when he switched to full-back in Scotland.
The other change in the backs sees Harri Millard return to partner Willis Halaholo in midfield, while Jarrod Evans is once again released from international duty to line-up at outside half.
Brad Thyer and Scott Andrews are re-introduced to the front row to pack down alongside hooker Liam Belcher, who has impressed in recent weeks, while Macauley Cook is given the nod to partner George Earle in the second row.
Mulvihill said: “Winning in Edinburgh was important for us. We knew we had an opportunity to move into the top three and we had to take it, so I’m delighted we managed that.
“Now we have to make sure we stay there, and it starts on Saturday against a dangerous Southern Kings side.
“Destiny is in our own hands and if we get a good win this weekend, we could be five or seven points ahead of one of our rival teams (with Connacht hosting the Ospreys) and we play both of those guys going forward.
“So we need a big performance this weekend to finish this block of matches and take some momentum and confidence into the final run.”
An impressive 16 of the matchday squad have graduated from the Cardiff Blues academy system, including experienced scrum-half, Lloyd Williams, who moves within 10 appearances of his 200th cap for the region.
Tomos Williams and Seb Davies are also released from the Wales squad in order to gain valuable game-time ahead of the final two rounds of Guinness PRO14 action.
22-year-old Davies, who has enjoyed a meteoric 18-months, will make his 50th appearance for his home region if he is called to action from the bench.
Cardiff Blues: Aled Summerhill; Owen Lane, Harri Millard, Willis Halaholo, Jason Harries; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Brad Thyer, Liam Belcher, Scott Andrews, George Earle, Macauley Cook, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Olly Robinson, Nick Williams (capt.)
Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Corey Domachowski, Keiron Assiratti, Rory Thornton, Seb Davies, Tomos Williams, Garyn Smith, Matthew Morgan
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