The Cardiff Blues players in contention to play the Barbarians

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Wayne Pivac is set to name his first Wales squad as head coach after taking over from Warren Gatland, ahead of the game against the Barbarians in two weeks.

After six rounds of the Guinness Pro14 and the first round of the European Challenge Cup there hasn’t been much to shout home about for Cardiff Blues players, but with an experimental squad set to be named for this post-World Cup, uncapped game, there is a chance that a number will make an appearance at the Principality Stadium.

Corey Domachowski has had a breakout start to the season, having only made his first start for two years against Munster. The 23-year-old has stepped into the gap left by the retirement of Gethin Jenkins and the departure of Rhys Carre to nail down the number one shirt ahead of Brad Thyer.

A powerful scrummager with plenty of ability to get around the field, Domachowski missed much of last season through injury and then spent a few months with Pontypridd but is making up for lost time now. With Carre unavailable and Wyn Jones potentially rested, he may have a chance of a call-up.

It’s been an up-and-down start to the campaign for Seb Davies, who found himself on the bench for games against Ulster and Munster but returned with a strong performance against Cheetahs in the second row, before grabbing a try from number eight against Calvisano.

Seb Davies Cheetahs

Lock is an area that Wayne Pivac will be keen to look out as the succession plan for Alun Wyn Jones and Bradley Davies needs to be put in place, and the new coach is known to be a big fan of Davies, with the rumour being that he is pushing Cardiff Blues to tie him down to a new three-year deal.

The back row is an area of huge competition in the Wales squad still but Will Boyde has done his chances of earning a call-up no harm at all with some all-action performances for his new team since signing from the Scarlets over the summer.

Wearing six, seven and eight he has carried hard, tackled plenty and been effective over the ball, and Pivac will know him well as the man who gave him his first team opportunity at Parc y Scarlets a few years ago.

With Ellis Jenkins, Josh Navidi and Ollie Griffiths injured, and Thomas Young, Dan Thomas and Taulupe Faletau unavailable, there may well be a chance for Boyde to show what he can do at the next level up.

There was some criticism of Jarrod Evans after the opening five rounds of the Pro14, with the fly-half subsequently admitting that his missing out on the World Cup squad impacted on his Cardiff Blues form early in the season.

However, back-to-back man-of-the-match performances against Cheetahs and Calvisano should assure him the number ten jersey against the Barbarians ahead of Sam Davies, with Dan Biggar, Gareth Anscombe and Rhys Patchell all injured or unavailable.

A lot of the talk before the squad selection will no doubt be about Willis Halaholo as the centre is available for selection having become Welsh-qualified last month. With Hadleigh Parkes having played with a broken hand for much of the World Cup and Jon Davies ruled out after surgery, there is plenty of openings in midfield.

The 29-year-old has shown glimpses of what he can do so far this season, although had to do it off the bench against Munster and Cheetahs, but the thinking is that with international quality all around him he should get that extra half-a-second he needs to rip apart opposition defences as he does at his devastating best.

Willis Halaholo Edinburgh

Another area of the field where there is a lot of competition for Wales places is the back three, but with Liam Williams and Jonah Holmes unavailable, and injury concerns over Leigh Halfpenny after another head knock, there may well be an opportunity that two Cardiff Blues players could take.

Aled Summerhill has started the season in fine try scoring form once again. Three scores in six games to go with 10 in 15 last year make him one of, if not the, most prolific try scorers in Welsh regional rugby at the moment.

The Rhondda Rocket has pace to burn and an appreciation for the game that sees him work hard off his wing to help the team, as well as being a defensively solid winger having spent time at centre and full-back on his way through to the first team.

He has been joined in a dangerous back three at the Arms Park by Matthew Morgan, who is playing his best rugby since arriving from Bristol in the summer of 2016.

Top of the Pro14 for defenders beaten over the opening six rounds with 29, the most marked improvement has been in his defence where he has saved a number of certain tries that otherwise might have got past him in previous years.

Stepping in at first receiver has been a success too, as well as his obvious talent in the wider channels and during broken play, which would suit a Barbarians game down to the ground.

Of course it goes without saying that Dillon Lewis, Tomos Williams, Josh Adams, Owen Lane and Hallam Amos will be in contention having featured during the World Cup, with hopefully some of their team-mates joining them after impressing for Cardiff Blues in the early stages of the season.

Although, selfishly, it might be better if none of them get selected and they are available to play Benetton that weekend!

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