Jenkins set for Pro14 return on Connacht trip

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Cardiff Blues flanker Ellis Jenkins will start in the Guinness Pro14 for the first time since October 2018 when he takes the field against Connacht on Saturday for a 7.35pm kick-off.

The 27-year-old is one of nine changes to the side that beat Scarlets last time out, as international call-ups hit Dai Young’s side hard, but he’s still able to name a strong 23 thanks to releases from the Wales squad and timely returns to fitness.

Rhys Carre is one of those players back from Hensol, as he starts at loosehead, while Dmitri Arhip packs down at tighthead and Rory Thornton is into the second row with Dillon Lewis and Cory Hill retained by Wayne Pivac. Shane Lewis-Hughes is the final change in the pack as he’s back from a head injury with Josh Turnbull switching to number eight and Alun Lawrence missing out.

Lloyd Williams is the other player released by Wales, starting at scrum-half, with Jason Tovey forming a new half-back partnership as Jarrod Evans is away, while in midfield Willis Halaholo is replaced by Mason Grady who will make his first Pro14 start after an impressive outing against Ospreys last week.

In the back three Owen Lane is fit again and Aled Summerhill recalled to start either side of Matthew Morgan, with Josh Adams and Hallam Amos still in the international squad camp.

On the bench Kirby Myhill returns to a matchday 23 as the replacement hooker, Corey Domachowski and Kieron Assiratti cover the props, Ben Murphy is the lock option and Gwilym Bradley covers the back row. Jamie Hill and Ben Thomas are the half-back options and Harri Millard covers the outside backs.

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan, Owen Lane, Mason Grady, Rey Lee-Lo, Aled Summerhill, Jason Tovey, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Carre, Liam Belcher, Dmitri Arhip, Seb Davies, Rory Thornton, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Ellis Jenkins, Josh Turnbull (c)

Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Corey Domachowski, Keiron Assiratti, Ben Murphy, Gwilym Bradley, Jamie Hill, Ben Thomas, Harri Millard

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