Mulvihill bloods youngsters in Cardiff Blues availability crisis

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John Mulvihill has been forced into a number of changes in the Cardiff Blues side to face Leinster on Sunday as injuries and international call-ups start to bite.

With Olly Robinson picking up a shoulder knock in last week’s win over Benetton, he joins Ellis Jenkins, Josh Navidi, Shane Lewis-Hughes, James Botham, Sam Moore and Will Boyde as back rowers either with Wales or in the treatment room. Alun Lawrence forms a makeshift openside alongside James Ratti and Josh Turnbull at the Royal Dublin Showground.

Willis Halaholo also misses out after picking up further problems with the knee in which he tore his anterior cruciate ligament last year, so Ben Thomas starts at inside centre.

Other changes are more tactical as Kris Dacey is rested with Ethan Lewis making his first start of the season at hooker, while Dmitri Arhip returns at tighthead after being rested himself last week. In the backs there is a welcome return from injury for Tomos Williams at scrum-half, while Aled Summerhill is preferred to Hallam Amos on the wing.

With squad depth tested there are a number of new faces on the bench with Iestyn Harris and Gwilym Bradley set for their Cardiff Blues debuts at hooker and in the back row if called upon. Jamie Hill drops down from the starting XV to cover scrum-half while Max Llewellyn is recalled as centre cover.

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan, Owen Lane, Garyn Smith, Ben Thomas, Aled Summerhill, Jarrod Evans (c), Tomos Williams; Corey Domachowski, Ethan Lewis, Dmitri Arhip, Ben Murphy, Rory Thornton, James Ratti, Alun Lawrence, Josh Turnbull

Replacements: Iestyn Harris, Brad Thyer, Keiron Assiratti, Teddy Williams, Gwilym Bradley, Jamie Hill, Max Llewellyn, Hallam Amos

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