Guinness Pro14: Cardiff Blues v Connacht
Venue: Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 26 January Kick off: 17:15 GMT
Coverage: Go on S4C, report on BBC Sport on the Web and app.

Wales hooker Kristian Dacey returns to captain Cardiff Blues for Saturday’s home Pro14 match against Connacht.

Dacey suffered a shoulder injury at the beginning of January and his return is just one of eight changes from last week’s Champions Cup victory over Lyon.

Connacht make 10 changes from the side which beat Bordeaux, with instant row Cillian Gallagher place to make his first start of the season.

The Irish state are five things ahead of the Blues in Conference A.

Shane Lewis-Hughes makes his first league start for the Blues, along with Olly Robinson and Nick Williams in the rear row.

Robinson steps in to the number seven championships, while Brad Thyer and George Earle may also be introduced into the package.

Steven Shingler and Lloyd Williams restart their half back venture, with Matthew Morgan the other shift inside the backline.

Denis Buckley starts in the front row for Connacht along with Finlay Bealham and Dave Heffernan.

Gallagher will package with James Cannon, while in the rear row captain Jarrad Butler returns at number eight along with flankers Eoin McKeon and Colby Fainga’a.

Scrum-half James Mitchell spouses David Horwitz at Half Back.

Tiernan O’Halloran reaches Full Back with Matt Healy and Cian Kelleher around the wings, also on-loan center Tom Daly starts his next match of this year along with Kyle Godwin in the midfield.

“This is actually our first opportunity to own a real crack at them” said Blues head coach John Mulvihill.

“If we win this week it sets us in touch with third place. When we lose it’s just like an eight to 10 point turn around for people, therefore it is necessary we put off to a fantastic beginning and set them under a great deal of pressure.

“They’re missing a couple of key players and thus are we, but our depth is very good in those areas so we will be able to put a good team.”

Having won eight of the past 10 matches, Connacht are in fine shape but head coach Andy Friend is taking nothing for granted.

“we all know very well what a challenging team Cardiff would be to play, particularly when they have reached home,” he explained.

“All these inter-conference matches have a huge bearing on the overall standings from the Pro14 therefore we’re fully conscious of the need for the fixture.”

Replacements: Tom McCartney, Matthew Burke, Dominic Robertson McCoy, Joe Maksymiw, Paul Boyle, Angus Lloyd, Conor Fitzgerald, Stephen Fitzgerald.

Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)

AR1: Adam Jones (WRU) AR2: Lloyd Linton (SRU)

T Mo: Ian Davies (WRU)


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