Summerhill makes PRO12 debut against Zebre :: 15 May 11:10
Full back Aled Summerhill will make his Guinness PRO12 debut for Cardiff Blues after being named in the starting line-up for the final game of the season against Zebre Rugby on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
Summerhill is one of nine changes for Cardiff Blues as they look to finish the season with a victory at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
Prop Gethin Jenkins returns to captain the team and is joined in a new-look front row by Kristian Dacey and Adam Jones, who plays his final game for the region before departing this summer.
Lock Lou Reed will play in the second row alongside Filo Paulo, who also starts his final game for Cardiff Blues before moving to Italy. There is also a call-up into the back row for Macauley Cook.
Scrum half Tavis Knoyle wins a starting spot alongside Rhys Patchell while wing Richard Smith and centre Tom Isaacs are also called into a new back line.
Hooker Matthew Rees misses the game after undergoing shoulder surgery while Jarrad Hoeata (concussion) and Joaquin Tuculet (ribs) are also ruled out.
Forwards Coach Dale McIntosh said: “It’s been a tough season for us, but all we can do now is put in a massive performance over the final 80 minutes of the season for the fans.
“Zebre have plenty to play for as they look to claim a place in the top tier of European competition next season. However, our motivation is huge too and we have to play to the best of our ability to get the right result.
“It’s been a quick turnaround since Scarlets and so we’ve concentrated this week on making sure people are energised. We’ve focussed on ourselves, what we are about and what we want to achieve.
“It’s great to see Gethin Jenkins back as captain,” he added. “He has been phenomenal in terms of his contribution the last few weeks.
“He’s flying and ready for the last game. He wants to play in front of our fans as do players like Sam Warburton. They’re ready to go.
“The fans have been superb this season and stuck with us throughout. We now really want to perform for them on the final day and give them something to smile about and the victory they deserve.”
Cardiff Blues: 15 Aled Summerhill, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Tom Isaacs, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Richard Smith, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Tavis Knoyle; 1 Gethin Jenkins ©, 2 Kristian Dacey, 3 Adam Jones, 4 Filo Paulo, 5 Lou Reed, 6 Macauley Cook, 7 Sam Warburton, 8 Josh Navidi
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Taufa’ao Filise, 19 Josh Turnbull, 20 Manoa Vosawai, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Garyn Smith, 23 Gareth Anscombe