Cardiff Blues Autumn International Preview

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Cardiff Blues back row Shane Lewis-Hughes has been called up to the Wales squad for the Autumn to make it seven players in total from John Mulvihill’s side representing the men’s national team.

The 23-year-old has been rewarded for some excellent early season form and will replace Ross Moriarty in the squad who picked up a training in injury. Lewis-Hughes will be looking to win his first cap during his second call-up, after being involved in the squad that met up for the Barbarians game last November.

He joins another Cardiff Blues back rower in the squad, with Josh Navidi being named in his fourth consecutive Wales camp aiming to add to his 24 caps won so far. He will have to overcome a concussion first though which is likely to keep him out until the Ireland fixture in the first round of the Autumn Nations Cup.

There are two players from the Arms Park in each of the prop and second row corps too, starting up front where Rhys Carre comes into a Wales squad looking to challenge for the number one jersey after moving back home from a season at Saracens. Still only 22 but with plenty of experience under his belt, the loosehead has a great chance to jump above Wyn Jones, Rob Evans and Nicky Smith in the pecking order.

On the other side of the front row is Dillon Lewis, also still young at just 24 but with 26 caps under his belt, the tighthead is part of a competitive battle for the starting spot alongside Premiership and Heineken Cup Finalist Tomas Francis and the rejuvenated Samson Lee. Two turnovers won against Connacht last week could well be his point of difference.

Then in the engine room Cory Hill is set for a return to the international stage after a tough time with injury that kept him out of the World Cup and restricted him to just one appearance in the first four rounds of the Six Nations earlier this year. Back fit and firing now though, the 28-year-old will look to push to claim back his spot alongside Alun Wyn Jones.

Another in that battle is Seb Davies who could well win his first cap for Wales since November 2018 this Autumn after a spell in the international wilderness. Up-and-down form for Cardiff Blues has kept him out of the starting XV at at the Arms Park at times, with positional changes not helping, but now settled in at lock he has started the season in excellent form and a call-up from Pivac is well deserved.

With Tomos Williams injured, and Jarrod Evans, Willis Halaholo and Hallam Amos overlooked, there is just the one Cardiff Blues back involved as Josh Adams looks to continue is stunning form of the past few years.

Tries against the Scarlets and Ospreys back in August and Zebre two weeks ago have seen a try scoring run extended that included the 25-year-old coming out the World Cup as top try scorer last year. He will be keen to add to his 14 tries in 25 caps so far.

There is also plenty of Cardiff Blues representation in the women’s national team as they get together for their final Six Nations match against Scotland next weekend, to be held at Cardiff City Stadium.

All eight of the players who were selected in the squad back in February retain their place with Cerys Hale looking to add to her 28 caps in the front row where she has become the cornerstone of the pack. Meanwhile Georgia Evans won her first four caps for Wales packing down in the second row earlier this year, starting twice and coming off the bench twice.

Cardiff Blues captain during the 2019 season Abbie Fleming is part of the back row corps and looking to add to her two caps won so far, and she is joined by Manon Johnes who already has 10 caps to her name despite being still only 19 years old.

In the backs the experience of Robyn Wilkins and her 47 caps will once again look to steer the team from fly-half having started all four of the games earlier this year, while Megan Webb made her Six Nations debut in one game starting at outside centre.

Hannah Bluck and Paige Randall are still relatively early in their international careers but have plenty of try scoring pedigree at club and international level and can add firepower on the wing when called upon.

Best of luck to all Cardiff Blues players wearing red over the next few weeks and most importantly as always, don’t get injured!

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