Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Prop Sam Hobbs will make his 100th appearance for Cardiff Blues when they tackle Newport Gwent Dragons in a massive East Wales derby in the Guinness PRO12 at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Boxing Day (2.05pm).

Hobbs will hit the major milestone and become a centurion for the Blues as Director of Rugby Mark Hammett makes a number of changes to his starting line-up as he looks to manage and utilise his squad over the busy festive and New Year period.

A total of six new faces come into the starting line-up that went on to defeat Scarlets in the first derby encounter of the Christmas period, with hooker Matthew Rees returning to captain the side from the front row.

Former New Zealand international Jarrad Hoeata is declared fit to be named in the second row, where he will partner Lou Reed, while Ellis Jenkins is called in to wear the seven jersey with Sam Warburton ruled out with injury.

Gareth Davies starts the game at fly half, where he will link up with Lewis Jones at half back, and the final change sees a recall for Gavin Evans at inside centre.

Mark Hammett said: “We have to manage the squad and I’m looking at the two Dragons games together; it’s important we do. Whoever goes out on the field for us has the responsibility to win these matches and perform.

“We are aiming to secure wins while managing the group to get as much excitement on the park at one time.

“All games are crucial, we always prepare to win and we are looking forward to this derby in front of a big crowd at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.”

Meanwhile, Wales age-grade international Tyler Morgan returns to the Newport Gwent Dragons starting line-up for the local derby as they continue their quest to remain unbeaten in December.

19-year-old Morgan, who will partner up with Jack Dixon in the centre, is one of two changes to the team that beat Zebre in the Guinness PRO12 last weekend.

Looking forward to the derby, Skipper Rynard Landman commented: “I can feel the vibe already in the squad and coaches. We had a derby against the Ospreys and it was good so I can imagine the passion with the festive spirit taking it over the top.

“I am excited about experiencing that for the first time. Kingsley (Jones) has told me that it’s going to be fast and a bit like Super Rugby.

“The Blues had a good win against the Scarlets and are above us in the league at the moment so the next two games are vital for the region so that we can climb the table and get our campaign back on track.”

Three changes have been made among the replacements – Welsh international Ian Gough has been deemed fit to take his place on the bench alongside Dan Way and Geraint Rhys Jones. They are joined by Elliot Dee, Owen Evans, Cory Hill, Richie Rees and Dorian Jones.

Cardiff Blues: Joaquin Tuculet, Alex Cuthbert, Cory Allen, Gavin Evans, Lucas Amorosino, Gareth Davies, Lewis Jones; Sam Hobbs, Matthew Rees (captain), Adam Jones, Jarrad Hoeata, Lou Reed, Josh Turnbull, Ellis Jenkins, Josh Navidi.

Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Gethin Jenkins, Taufa’ao Filise, Macauley Cook, Manoa Vosawai, Tavis Knoyle, Gareth Anscombe, Adam Thomas.

Newport Gwent Dragons: Tom Prydie, Matthew Pewtner, Tyler Morgan, Jack Dixon, Hallam Amos, Jason Tovey, Jonathan Evans; Phil Price, T. Rhys Thomas, Brok Harris, Andrew Coombs, Rynard Landman (captain), James Thomas, Nic Cudd, Lewis Evans.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Owen Evans, Dan Way, Cory Hill, Ian Gough, Richie Rees, Dorian Jones, Geraint Rhys Jones.

Terrace tickets remain on sale NOW for the game. Call the Ticket Office on 02920 302030 or click on to take your seat.