Cardiff Blues have named a 75-man squad for the upcoming European Challenge Cup campaign, which begins away at Calvisano on Saturday 16th November.
It is the first time we have played in the second tier competition since winning it for a second time at the end of the 2017/18 season, beating Gloucester in Bilbao thanks to a stunning second half comeback to end the Danny Wilson era on a high.
Last season we returned to the Heineken Champions Cup but failed to make it beyond the pool stages after losing to Glasgow and Saracens, but now we are back in the Challenge Cup with the possibility of returning to the scene of our 2010 triumph in Marseille next May.
Previously clubs have been asked to name a 41-man squad for the pool stages of the competition, but that has now changed with the European Professional Club Rugby rules stating that there is ‘no limit to the number of players in a squad’ for this season.
As a result Cardiff Blues have taken no chances and registered 75 players for this season, including 21 players from the Indigo Group Premiership, one from the Wales Sevens setup and 11 players who are yet to make their competitive first team debuts from the academy setup.
Also included are Josh Navidi, Ellis Jenkins and Rhun Williams, who are currently on the longer term injury list, while Josh Adams and Hallam Amos are named despite not having yet trained with the squad following their summer moves.
Cardiff Blues Challenge Cup squad (Cardiff Blues players unless stated)
Loosehead: Theo Bevaqua, Corey Domachowski, Rhys Gill, Huw Owen (Pontypridd), Chris Phillips (Pontypridd), Brad Thyer
Hooker: Liam Belcher, Kristian Dacey, Iestyn Harris, Cameron Lewis, Ethan Lewis, Kirby Myhill, Evan Yardley (Cardiff RFC)
Tighthead: Scott Andrews, Dmitri Arhip, Keiron Assiratti, Will Davies-King, Ollie Drake (Cardiff RFC), Dillon Lewis, Ben Warren
Lock: Callum Bradbury (Cardiff RFC), Macauley Cook, Seb Davies, James Down, Paddy McBride (Merthyr), Sean Moore (Pontypridd), Ben Murphy, James Ratti (Cardiff RFC), Rory Thornton, Teddy Williams
Back Row: Morgan Allen (Cardiff RFC), James Botham, Will Boyde, Tim Grey, Nathan Hudd (Cardiff RFC), Ellis Jenkins, Alun Lawrence, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Josh Navidi, Zach O’Driscoll (Cardiff RFC), Nick Williams, Josh Turnbull, Sam Pailor (Cardiff RFC), Olly Robinson
Scrum Half: Tom Habberfield (Cardiff RFC) Jamie Hill, Lewis Jones, Lloyd Williams, Tomos Williams
Fly Half: Rhys Davies, Jarrod Evans, Ben Jones (Pontypridd), Gareth Thompson (Cardiff RFC), Jason Tovey
Centre: Sam Beard (Cardiff RFC), Willis Halaholo, Rey Lee-Lo, Max Llewellyn, Harri Millard, Aaron Pinches (Merthyr), Garyn Smith, Ben Thomas
Back Three: Josh Adams, Hallam Amos, Ioan Davies, Dan Fish, Jason Harries, Edd Howley (Cardiff RFC), Sam Jones (Merthyr), Owen Lane, Matthew Morgan, Dafydd Smith (Wales 7s), Dale Stuckey (Pontypridd), Aled Summerhill, Rhun Williams
It has been confirmed that the inclusion of the Premiership players is purely for cover in the case of an injury crisis, and is not in any way indicative of a policy that would see Cardiff Blues not take the competition seriously.
Selecting a vast number of players negates the need to make any unnecessary changes to the selected squad as is still permitted in the competition rules.
Tickets for the European home games against English heavyweights Leicester and familiar French faux Pau are now available from the Cardiff Blues here.