Preview: Llanelli v Cardiff RFC

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Cardiff RFC return to Indigo Group Premiership action this weekend with a trip West to face Llanelli at Parc y Scarlets.

The Blue and Blacks overcame RGC with a 24-40 scoreline last Saturday to kick-off the defence of the Specsavers Cup in style, having beaten Pontypridd in the opening round of the league the week before.

This week the hope is that the wining start to the season can continue, at a ground where Cardiff haven’t lost since December 2013, five straight wins at Parc y Scarlets including a 19-23 victory in March thanks to a Morgan Allen try and the kicking of both Gareth Thompson and Steffan Jones.

So far Llanelli have reported mixed results, with a tough 33-5 loss at the hands of Swansea at St Helen’s being followed by a comfortable 33-13 win over Championship side Maesteg Harlequins in what was a potential banana skin.

The West Walians make a number of changes to the side that won in the Cup last week, starting in the forwards where an all-new front row of Steff Bond, Taylor Davies and Simon Gardiner pack down, while in the back row Scarlets number eight Uzair Cassiem gets a run out.

In the centre there is a return for captain Jonny Lewis alongside former Cardiff centre Bleddyn Davies, while Ashley Sutton and Tom Rogers are included in the back three.

Llanelli: Tom Rogers, Ashley Sutton, Bleddyn Davies, Jonny Lewis (c), Liam Hutchins, Tadhg McGuckin, Steff Davies; Steff Bond, Taylor Davies, Simon Gardiner, Dylan Lawley, Ed Couzens, Elis Hopkins, Nathan Hart, Uzair Cassiem

Replacements: Rhys Cherry, Greg George, Lewis Davies, Sion Jones, Josh Weeds, Griff Williams, Zak Chambers, Rhydian Williams

Uzair Cassiem Cheetahs
Uzair Cassiem in his Cheetahs days

Whereas the home side sport a number of changes, Cardiff are able to maintain an element of consistency in the starting XV, with Steve Law only making two changes from the team which beat RGC last week.

Callum Bradbury is not in the squad at second row so Sam Pailor moves up into the engine room and Alex Everett is named at blindside flanker, while Sam Beard returns at inside centre with Jack Brooks dropping to the bench. Joining him there are Ollie Drake, James Thomas and Amir Jiwa-Walji.

Cardiff RFC: Joe Scrivens, Joe Gatt, Leon Andrews, Sam Beard, Barney Nightingale, Gareth Thompson, Ben Williams; Thomas Davies, Evan Yardley, Peter Lloyd, Sam Pailor, James Ratti, Alex Everett, Zach O’Driscoll, Morgan Allen (c)

Replacements: Hugo Souto, Francis Lewis, Ollie Drake, James Thomas, Lloyd Pike, Tom Habberfield, Jack Brooks, Amir Jiwa-Walji

A tough game to call with Llanelli making so many changes and having experienced two very different results so far, as well as calling in some Scarlets faces to the matchday squad this week.

However, there is plenty on offer for Cardiff knowing that a win will see the Blue and Blacks off to a better start than last season in the bid to overtake Merthyr at the top of the Premiership.

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