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Young Guns Primed For LV=Cup

A host of the best young Welsh regional players are set to shine tonight in the LV= Cup as the regions hand opportunities to some of their youngsters. It’s a key time in the calendar for the next generation with senior internationals away on duty and their time to step up and make their mark in the Region’s jerseys.

Cardiff Blues

Garyn Smith, Harry Davies and Jevon Groves will all make their debuts for Cardiff Blues when the region launches its LV= Cup bid away to Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park tonight (20.00).

The trio are all handed first-ever senior outings for Blues in a team captained by Ellis Jenkins that contains a mix of youth and experience. A total of sixteen players out of the match day squad are products of the Blues Academy with centre Smith paired alongside Lucas Amorosino in midfield – the Argentine the sole survivor from the side that faced Munster last weekend.

Wales international Scott Andrews packs down with Rhys Williams and Tom Davies up front while lock Loud Reed joins forces with Chris Dicomidis at second row. Jenkins skippers the side from openside flanker with newcomer Groves and Rory Watts-Jones joining him in the back row.

Wing Davies provides the firepower out wide, with Tom Williams and Dan Fish completing the back three, while the half back pairing is Simon Humberstone and Tavis Knoyle. The bench contains a number of potential debuts with Ethan Lewis, Callum Lewis, Dillon Lewis, Ben Roach, Will Thomas and Jack Phillips all in line for a first team bow if they come on in the north east of England.

Cardiff Blues team to face Newcastle Falcons, Friday November 7 (20.00):

Dan Fish, Tom Williams, Lucas Amorosino, Garyn Smith, Harry Davies, Simon Humberstone, Tavis Knoyle; Tom Davies, Rhys Williams, Scott Andrews, Lou Reed, Chris Dicomidis, Jevon Groves, Ellis Jenkins (captain), Rory Watts-Jones.

Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Callum Lewis, Dillon Lewis, Miles Normandale, Ben Roach, Tomos Williams, Will Thomas, Jack Phillips.

Newport Gwent Dragons

South African tight head Brok Harris has been given the nod to make his debut for the Newport Gwent Dragons in their opening LV= Cup fixture of the season against Harlequins at the Stoop tonight (19:45).

The Men of Gwent have also welcomed back Ross Wardle, Cory Hill, Andrew Coombs and Joe Davies, who have all been included in the match day squad after recovering from injuries. Geraint Rhys Jones will start at full-back for the Dragons and will be joined in the back three by teenager Ashton Hewitt and Aled Brew. Matthew Pewtner and Ross Wardle, who has returned from a long term knee injury, make up the centre paring, with Dorian Jones set to pull the strings from fly-half whilst 22-year-old Jonathan Evans takes on the scum-half position.

The front row consists of props Owen Evans and debutant Brok Harris, whilst Elliot Dee takes on the position of hooker. James Thomas, who put on an impressive display against Ulster, retains his place in the second row alongside Cory Hill who returns from injury to captain the side. The back row sees the return of Andrew Coombs at blind side flanker, who will play alongside James Benjamin and Andy Powell.

Newport Gwent Dragons team to face Harlequins, Friday November 7 (19.45):

Geraint Rhys Jones, Ashton Hewitt, Matthew Pewtner, Ross Wardle, Aled Brew, Dorian Jones, Jonathan Evans; Owen Evans, Elliot Dee, Brok Harris, James Thomas, Cory Hill (captain), Andrew Coombs, James Benjamin, Andy Powell.

Replacements: Hugh Gustafson, Phil Price, David Young, Joe Davies, Ollie Griffiths, Luc Jones, Barney Nightingale, Rhys Williams.

Ospreys

Aled Jenkins, Gareth Thomas, Rory Thornton and Ifereimi Boladau will all make their Ospreys debuts against Saracens in the LV= Cup at the Gnoll this evening (19.35).

Jordan Collier makes his first Ospreys start against the premiership outfit after shining on his debut for the region last week against Connacht in the Guinness PRO12.

In the backs fit-again centre Ashley Beck makes his first start of the season for the region since returning from a prolonged spell on the sidelines with a hip injury and will form the centre partnership alongside Aled Jenkins.

Tommy Spinks and Ashley Evans will make their Ospreys debuts if they come off the bench.

The Ospreys team to face Saracens at the Gnoll, Friday November 7 (19.35):

Richard Fussell, Dafydd Howells, Ashley Beck, Aled Jenkins, Aisea Natoga, Sam Davies, Tom Habberfield (captain); Gareth Thomas, Scott Otten, Daniel Suter, Rory Thornton, Rhodri Hughes, Jordan Collier, Lloyd Evans, Ifereimi Boladau.

Replacements: Matthew Dwyer, Marc Thomas, Nicky Thomas, Adam Beard, Tommy Spinks, Tito Tebaldi, Hanno Dirksen, Ashley Evans.

Scarlets

Two of the Scarlets’ young talents will make their debuts in the region’s LV= Cup opener against Northampton Saints at Parc y Scarlets tonight (19.30), with scrum half Kieran Hardy and second row Shaun Jones rewarded for strong performances in the British and Irish Cup in recent weeks.

The next generation players, which include last week’s debutant Steffan Evans and former Wales Under 20s captain Steffan Hughes, are supported in the starting fifteen by some of the region’s more experienced players.

South African second row George Earle will captain the side and props Phil John and Peter Edwards as well as flanker Rob McCusker, who returns from injury, add experience and maturity to the pack.

Steven Shingler, who scored 23 points against Zebre last weekend, remains at outside half with Jordan Williams making a return to the wing. Frazier Climo partners Williams on the wing with Gareth Owen adding experience at centre.

Scarlets team to take on Northampton Saints at Parc y Scarlets, Friday November 7 (19.30):

Steff Evans, Jordan Williams, Steffan Hughes, Gareth Owen, Frazier Climo, Steven Shingler, Kieran Hardy, Phil John, Kirby Myhill, Peter Edwards, Shaun Jones, George Earle (captain), Rob McCusker, James Davies, Rory Pitman.

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones, Jacobie Adriaanse, Phil Day, Sion Bennett, Rhodri Davies, Josh Lewis, Aaron Warren.