|Date: Friday, December 11th Resume: 20:00 G.M.T. Venue: Kingston Park|
|Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales and the BBC Sport website|
The Cardiff Blues have six Welsh players for Friday’s European Challenge Cup opener at the Falcons in Newcastle.
Corey Hill leads the Welsh team from Locke to autumn Nations Cup duty, starting with Dillon Lewis, Seb Davis and Shane Lewis-Hughes.
Newcastle center center Pete Lukok and flankers Josh Basham and Rob Farrer make their first starts for the club.
The English side change their front row and back three from the last Gallagher Premiership game.
Adam Brocklebank, Jamie Blameyer and Mark Tampin all take their starting positions from the front row after being impressed off the bench by the Falcons’ unbeaten start to the league season. Wakokok coming to the back three.
Club captain Mark Wilson saw his first shooting of the season after recovering from injury but homegrown fly-half Joel Hodgson captain Falcons.
After switching from the Hooker, Kyle Cooper could be ready for his first match shooting, making his debut on the England Students Cap Bailey ransom bench, and Tonga’s Cooper Wuna will be included in the reserve collection within a year after a serious shoulder injury on his debut.
Blues flanker Josh Turnbull shifts to the open side as Sam Moore pulls on the number eight jersey.
Tomos Williams and Jarrod Evans are half behind for visitors, while Ben Thomas and Garin Smith return to full Hallem Amos midfield in the middle.
A member of the Blues Squad tested positive for Kovid-19 this week, isolating himself with another person identified with the next person, but no further cases have been reported.
Cardiff Blues head coach John Malvihill said: “It is a great pleasure to welcome some of our Welsh boys to the team this weekend and they brought a lot of enthusiasm and energy to training this week.
“Not only do they provide more quality and experience to maintain our standards, but people like Corey are great leaders for us.
“We were all disappointed with our recent loss to Glasgow, but … we’ve done well in the Challenge Cup before, and the boys are looking forward to the challenge of taking on the Falcons in Newcastle, who are flying high in the English Premiership.”
Falcons defense coach Nick Easter at Newcastle said: “Moving on to another match keeps things fresh, and I hope the Cardiff Blues get stronger.
“All the players know what to expect from them from the work rate, skill and game understanding perspective and I want to see how we go.
With three wins (in the premiership) it couldn’t have been better, but with that comes a higher level of analysis and a more forensic eye as teams prepare to play against us.
“The big thing is, a lot of people don’t have a lot of talent, and it’s not a bad place.”
Newcastle Falcons: A tight; G Wacocock, P Lukoco, J Mathavesi, T Arscott; J Hodgson (captain), S. Stuart; A. Brocklebank, J. Blameyer, M. Tampin, D. Barry, W. Montgomery, R. Farrar, J. Basham, T. Marshall.
Replacement: C. Madison, K. Cooper, R. Ahou, B. Ransom, M. Wilson, L. Schrder, C. Wuna, B. Conan.
Cardiff Blues: H. Amos; O’Lane, G. Smith, B. Thomas, A. Summerhill; J. Evans, T. Williams; B. Thayer, K. Daisy, D. Lewis, S. Davis, C. Hill (capt), S. Lewis-Hughes, J. Turnbull, S. Moore.
Replacement: I. Harris, R. Carey, S. Andrews, B. Murphy, G. Bradley, L. Williams, H. Millard, M. Morgan.
Referee: Ludovic Care (France)
Assistant Referees: Hamish Smalls (England); John Meredith (England)
TMO: Abraham Hughes (England)