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European cup rugby beckons once again for the regions this weekend with crucial games ahead as the four Welsh teams battle for places in the knockout stages.

Cardiff Blues are at home to Italian opposition and are aiming to take another step into the quarter-finals of the European Rugby Challenge Cup with a win likely to mean a bonus point in their final Pool 1 fixture should see them through.

Newport Gwent Dragons are also in Challenge Cup action when they visit Newcastle Falcons tomorrow knowing a positive result could set up a potential Pool 3 table topping finale with Stade Francais at Rodney Parade next weekend.

It’s not over until it’s over for the Ospreys, who will be seeking a second Pool 5 win of their European Rugby Champions Cup campaign when they face Northampton Saints in Swansea, as they hope to keep their slim chances of making it out of the pool alive.

Elsewhere in the Champions Cup the Scarlets face Leicester at Welford Road tonight still firmly in the mix in Pool 3 and a historic win this evening would put them in a great position to qualify for the knockout stages with one home pool fixture remaining.

Cardiff Blues v Rovigo

Rhys Patchell will make his playing comeback as Cardiff Blues tackle Femi-CZ Rugby Rovigo in the European Rugby Challenge Cup at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park tonight (7.30pm).

Patchell returns at full back for his first game since the start of November and is one of 12 changes for the Blues, with only Gareth Anscombe, Cory Allen and Josh Turnbull remaining from the starting line-up against Leinster.

A new-look back line will see Adam Thomas combine will Allen in midfield while Lloyd Williams returns at scrum half to join forces with Anscombe. Richard Smith, who this week signed a new two-year contract at Cardiff Blues, and Geraint Walsh provide the firepower out wide.

Sam Hobbs, captain Matthew Rees and tighthead prop Taufa’ao Filise will pack down in the front row while Ellis Jenkins and Manoa Vosawai earn call-ups into the back row.

Fit-again Chris Dicomidis will play at lock and he is joined in the second row by Scott Andrews with Jarrad Hoeata (suspension), Filo Paulo (injury), Lou Reed and Miles Normandale (ineligible) unavailable.

Cardiff Blues: Rhys Patchell, Richard Smith, Cory Allen, Adam Thomas, Geraint Walsh, Gareth Anscombe, Lloyd Williams; Sam Hobbs, Matthew Rees (captain), Taufa’ao Filise, Scott Andrews, Chris Dicomidis, Josh Turnbull, Ellis Jenkins, Manoa Vosawai.

Replacements:  Rhys Williams, Thomas Davies, Craig Mitchell, Kristian Dacey, Macauley Cook, Lewis Jones, Gareth Davies, Gavin Evans.

Newcastle Falcons v Newport Gwent Dragons

Dorian Jones will make his first start in the European Rugby Challenge Cup when the Men of Gwent visit Newcastle Falcons this weekend.

The Dragons currently sit top of Pool 3, just one point ahead of their hosts tomorrow and have made three changes to their starting XV, one positional, to the team that faced the Ospreys last weekend.

The half back pairing sees one change as Dorian Jones comes in for Jason Tovey at fly half to join scrumhalf Jonathan Evans in the half backs.

The front row sees one change as hooker Hugh Gustafson joins props Phil Price and Brok Harris to make his first start of the 2014/15 season. Flanker Lewis Evans moves across the back row to number eight as James Thomas joins flanker Nic Cudd in the starting line up.

The replacements bench has five changes made to it from last weekend as Elliot Dee, Cory Hill, Taulupe Faletau, Luc Jones and Angus O’Brien joins Owen Evans, Lloyd Fairbrother and Geraint Rhys Jones.

Newport Gwent Dragons: Tom Prydie, Matthew Pewtner, Tyler Morgan, Jack Dixon, Hallam Amos, Dorian Jones, Jonathan Evans: Phil Price, Hugh Gustafson, Brok Harris, Andrew Coombs, Rynard Landman (captain), James Thomas, Nic Cudd, Lewis Evans.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Owen Evans, Lloyd Fairbrother, Cory Hill, Taulupe Faletau, Luc Jones, Angus O’Brien, Geraint Rhys Jones.

Ospreys v Northampton Saints

The Ospreys have made five starting changes for the visit of Northampton Saints to the Liberty Stadium on Sunday (5.30pm) for their European Rugby Champions Cup clash.

Aisea Natoga comes in on the wing to replace Richard Fussell in the only change to their backline, while Rynier Bernardo comes into the second row in place of James King, who switches to flanker.

The home side have also picked a new look front row for the match with Marc Thomas, Scott Baldiwn and Aaron Jarvis replacing Duncan Jones, Sam Parry and Dmitri Arhip.

Morgan Allen returns to the Ospreys replacements after injury for a match they must win to maintain any chance of qualifying for the Champions Cup quarter-finals.

Ospreys: Dan Evans; Aisea Natoga, Ashley Beck, Josh Matavesi, Eli Walker; Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Marc Thomas, Scott Baldwin, Aaron Jarvis, Rynier Bernardo, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), James King, Justin Tipuric, Tyler Ardron.

Replacements: Sam Parry, Gareth Thomas, Dmitri Arhip, Morgan Allen, Sam Lewis, Martin Roberts, Sam Davies, Hanno Dirksen.

Scarlets v Leicester Tigers

Scarlets head into round five of the European Rugby Champions Cup with everything still to play for as they lie in second place in Pool 5, equal on points with tonight’s opposition Leicester Tigers (7.45pm).

With two victories each Scarlets and Tigers are both still very much in the campaign with the winner of the round five clash keeping the competition alive for the final pool game next week – with Scarlets taking on reigning champions Toulon.

Scarlets Academy hooker Ryan Elias will make his European debut for the region in the fron trow alongside young loosehead prop Rob Evans and experienced tighthead Peter Edwards.

Jordan Williams comes in at full buck for namesake Liam Williams, who misses the game with a shoulder injury but is expected back for the Toulon game.

Scarlets: Jordan Williams, Harry Robinson,  Regan King,  Scott Williams (captain),  Hadleigh Parkes,  Rhys Priestland, Aled Davies,  Rob Evans, Ryan Elias, Peter Edwards, Jake Ball, George Earle, Aaron Shingler, John Barclay, Rob McCusker.

Replacements: Darran Harris, Wyn Jones, Jacobie Adriaanse, Lewis Rawlins, James Davies, Rhodri Williams, Steven Shingler, Rory Pitman