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Regions Return to Guinness PRO 12 Action

The Welsh regions are back in Guinness PRO12 action this weekend as they all look to cement their places in the league during what is always a challenging period when international players are away on duty with their countries.

Blues

Argentina international Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino will make his Cardiff Blues debut after being named on the wing for the Guinness PRO12 clash against Munster at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday afternoon (17.15pm).

The flying winger is one of seven changes to the side that defeated Femi-CZ Rugby Rovigo in Italy last weekend. Gavin Evans is recalled in midfield, with Adam Thomas moving to outside centre.

A new-look front row sees hooker Matthew Rees captain the team and pack down alongside Sam Hobbs and Adam Jones. Jarrad Hoeata and Filo Paulo are reunited in the second row engine room. Hot prospect Garyn Smith could also make his debut with the Blues Academy product named among the replacements.

Cardiff Blues team to play Munster, Saturday November 1 (17.15) at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park:

Rhys Patchell, Richard Smith, Adam Thomas, Gavin Evans, Lucas Amorosino, Gareth Davies, Lloyd Williams; Sam Hobbs, Matthew Rees (captain), Adam Jones, Jarrad Hoeata, Filo Paulo, Josh Turnbull, Josh Navidi, Manoa Vosawai.

Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Thomas Davies, Taufa’ao Filise, Macauley Cook, Ellis Jenkins, Lewis Jones, Garyn Smith, Dan Fish.

Dragons

New Dragons signing Rhys Williams has been named in the starting line up to take on Ulster at Ravenhill on Saturday in the Guinness PRO 12. The 26-year-old centre has just signed from Carmarthen Quins on a month-long loan, and is one of seven changes to the team that faced Newcastle Falcons in Round two of the European Rugby Challenge Cup.

Jason Tovey, who recently played for Premiership side Cross Keys at fullback, has made the move into the back three and is joined by wings Matthew Pewtner and Aled Brew. The centre pairing takes on the new shape of Rhys Williams and Ashley Smith.

The front row sees the return of Boris Stankovich and Thomas Rhys Thomas who join tight head prop Dan Way. They are joined in the front five by locks James Thomas and Rynard Landman, the latter taking on the role of captain. The back row has two changes as Lewis Evans is joined by young gun James Benjamin and British and Irish Lion Andy Powell.

Newport Gwent Dragons team to face Ulster, Saturday November 1 (19.35):

Jason Tovey, Matthew Pewtner, Rhys Williams, Ashley Smith, Aled Brew, Angus O’Brien, Richie Rees; Boris Stankovich, Thomas Rhys Thomas, Dan Way, James Thomas, Rynard Landman (captain), Lewis Evans, James Benjamin, Andy Powell.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Owen Evans, Lloyd Fairbrother, Scott Andrews, Ollie Griffiths, Jonathan Evans, Geraint Rhys Jones, Ashton Hewitt.

Ospreys

Ieuan Jones will make his Ospreys debut against Connaught at the Liberty Stadium tonight, with the Cardiff Blues loan-signing coming in at number eight to replace the injured Joe Bearman.

Rory Thornton and Jordan Collier will make their Ospreys debuts if used off the bench, while centre Ashely Beck is also named among the replacements after successfully returning from a hip injury.

The Ospreys team also sees starts for Andrew Bishop, Tom Grabham, Sam Davies, and Martin Roberts in the backs, while a new look front row of Duncan Jones, Sam Parry and Aaron Jarvis comes in. Rynier Bernardo and Sam Lewis are named in the starting line up this week, along with Justin Tipuric, who is being time to prove his form and fitness before the Autumn internationals.

The Ospreys team to face Connaught at the Liberty Stadium, Friday October 31 (19.35):

Dan Evans, Jeff Hassler, Andrew Bishop, Josh Matavesi, Tom Grabham, Sam Davies, Martin Roberts; Duncan Jones, Sam Parry, Aaron Jarvis, Lloyd Peers (captain), Rynier Bernardo, Sam Lewis, Justin Tipuric, Ieuan Jones.

Replacements: Scott Otten, Marc Thomas, Dmitri Arhip, Rory Thornton, Jordan Collier, Tom Habberfield, Ashley Beck, Aisea Natoga.

Scarlets

Scarlets Head Coach Wayne Pivac has made eight changes to the side that was victorious against Leicester Tigers last week, handing opportunities to some of the squad’s fresh faces.

John Barclay, who moves to number eight in the only positional change to the starting, will captain the side for the first time. With eight senior Scarlets on international duty and a list of ten injured players Pivac has an opportunity to see what some of the region’s next generation have to offer. One of the region’s exciting young talents who comes into the starting fifteen is Wales Under 20s fullback Steff Evans, and Gareth Owen and George Earle return from injury and take over from Scott Williams and Richard Kelly respectively.

Steven Shingler takes the reigns at flyhalf whilst Kirby Myhill and James Davies move into the starting line-up from the replacements bench. Peter Edwards starts in the front row.

Scarlets team to take on Zebre at Parc y Scarlets, Saturday November 1 (18.00):

Steffan Evans, Harry Robinson, Michael Tagicakibau, Gareth Owen, Kristian Phillips, Steven Shingler, Aled Davies; Rob Evans, Kirby Myhill, Peter Edwards, George Earle, Johan Snyman, Aaron Shingler, James Davies, John Barclay (captain).

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Phil John, Jacobie Adriaanse, Sion Bennett, Rory Pitman, Rhodri Davies, Josh Lewis, Steffan Hughes.