Cardiff head coach Steve Law has taken the chance to take a look at two new faces from the Cardiff & Vale College 1st XV against Merthyr on Saturday afternoon at the Arms Park, 2.30pm kick-off.
With a home Indigo Group Premiership Cup quarter-final already confirmed there is no pressure on this weekend’s game, although the Blue and Blacks could jump Newport for top spot in the eastern division with a win over the Ironmen and the Black and Ambers falling to bottom side Ebbw Vale.
As a result Academy back rower Mackenzie Martin has been rewarded for some standout performances in the WRU College League with a first Rags start at blindside flanker at just 17-years-old, while his CAVC captain and fellow Academy member Harrison James will make his debut if he comes on as outside backs cover.
Law also takes the chance to freshen up his front row with a new trio of Brynley Toms, Alun Rees and Ollie Drake, while Alex Everett moves back into the second row with James Thomas now suspended, and Alex Mann gets the nod at openside flanker.
In the backs Ethan Lloyd and Jack Maynard form a new half-back duo, while Cameron Winnett moves to the wing as Jacob Beetham returns to full-back.
Thomas Davies and Llyr Green move to prop cover from the bench, while former Cardiff age grade player and current Glamorgan Wanderers lock Anthony Cox is on permit. Naturally a hooker, Iestyn Harris will cover the back row if required, while Rory Harries and Dan Fish are the cover half-backs.
Cardiff: Jacob Beetham, Cameron Winnett, Ryan Wilkins, Ioan Evans, James Beal, Jack Maynard, Ethan Lloyd; Brynley Toms, Alun Rees, Ollie Drake, Rhys Anstey, Alex Everett (c), Mackenzie Martin, Alex Mann, Alun Lawrence
Replacements: Evan Yardley, Thomas Davies, Llyr Green, Anthony Cox, Iestyn Harris, Rory Harries, Dan Fish, Harrison James