Rees’ men in bid for Celtic Cup top spot

South Wales Echo - - Sport -

CARDIFF Blues A have made five changes for the clash against Ospreys Devel­op­ment at Cardiff Arms Park to­day (2.30pm) as they look to win their Celtic Cup pool.

Richie Rees’ side re­main in con­tention for a place in the fi­nal, and a win could see them leapfrog pool lead­ers Scar­lets A, who take on Drag­ons A at Church Bank to­mor­row.

Four of the changes are made in the back­line, with Corey How­ells set to make his de­but in the com­pe­ti­tion. The young wing has im­pressed for Pon­typridd in re­cent weeks, scor­ing three tries in two Prin­ci­pal­ity Pre­mier­ship games.

Else­where, Max Llewellyn is re­called into the cen­tre, while Steven Shin­gler and Jamie Hill make up a new-look half-back part­ner­ship.

The only change in the pack sees young­ster Will Davies King called into the tight­head spot, re­plac­ing Ke­iron As­sir­atti, join­ing Welsh in­ter­na­tional, Gethin Jenk­ins, and Liam Belcher in the front row.

With all to play for head­ing into the fi­nal round of ac­tion, Rees be­lieves the in­ten­sity and com­pet­i­tive­ness of the derby will be a learn­ing curve for the squad’s younger play­ers.

“This is proper com­pet­i­tive rugby, and noth­ing can repli­cate that for in­ten­sity,” said Rees.

“The boys head into the game know­ing what they need to do in order to stand a chance to play again next week. We have to con­cen­trate on what we can con­trol in these games, and hope­fully re­sults else­where will go our way.

“The fi­nal would be a bonus. What­ever hap­pens on Satur­day, our fo­cus over these block of games has been on see­ing im­prove­ment from week-toweek.”

“We’ve seen that im­prove­ment since the heavy de­feat to Le­in­ster, and we’re confident the boys can dis­play that once again this week.

“For some, it is an op­por­tu­nity to make an im­pres­sion at this level, and the likes of Corey How­ells, Jamie Hill and Ben Jones de­serve that chance af­ter im­press­ing for Pon­typridd re­cently.

“The Ospreys will be a lit­tle bit more fa­mil­iar that the Ir­ish op­po­si­tion we’ve faced over the last few weeks, but that’s set a dif­fer­ent chal­lenge in it­self.

“We’re play­ing at home, so there’s a bit of pride at stake as well and we want to put in a good out­ing. At the end of the day, it’s a derby and the boys will have ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion for that.”

Ben Jones re­turns on the bench, hav­ing also fea­tured for Pon­typridd in re­cent weeks, while Wales un­der-18 and Cardiff Univer­sity hooker Cameron Lewis is set to make his Cardiff Blues A de­but.

D Fish; C How­ells, C Lewis, M Llewellyn, H Mil­lard; S Shin­gler, J Hill; G Jenk­ins, L Belcher, W Davies King, S Lewis-Hughes, J Down, S Ben­nett, S Edwards, A Lawrence (capt). Reps: C Lewis, R Carré, B War­ren, C Brad­bury, I Rhys Davies, D Blacker, B Jones, I Davies.

Cardiff Blues A:

Steven Shin­gler is at fly-half for Cardiff Blues A in to­day’s clash

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