Lloyd Williams returns in club colours after a successful Six Nations campaign with Wales

Cardiff Blues second row forward James Down has recovered from a fracture dislocation of his ankle to make his first start since Racing Metro in November.

The Blues also welcome back Grand Slam heroes Alex Cuthbert and Lloyd Williams to the side following their heroics against France last Saturday.

Sam Warburton and Gethin Jenkins are both out with shoulder injuries while Leigh Halfpenny is out with a dead leg. Jamie Roberts has been rested while Bradley Davies is suspended.

On the pitch the Blues have lost just one home game in any competition since October and take on a Scarlets side who have won back to back matches in the PRO12, at home to Treviso and Connacht. It is a crucial game for both teams who are locked on 45 points, two points behind the play off places.

Speaking ahead of the match, Cardiff Blues backs coach Gareth Baber said,

“The Scarlets have a good blend of youth and experience. They work hard for each other, have a good work ethic and work hard around the field to create opportunities, so we know it’s going to be a difficult match but we are ready for the challenge.”

“Players from both teams contributed significantly to the Wales team success and we have looked at these returning international players individually to see where they are mentally and physically.”

“Now that we are entering the business end of the season the competition level rises and everybody is fighting for positions in the starting XV. Ultimately the players know, although they may not like it sometimes, that there can only be 15 people that can be on the field and we are picking the team that will get the victory.”

Cardiff City Stadium, Saturday 24 March, 6.30pm

Starting XV:
15. Ben Blair
14. Alex Cuthbert
13. Casey Laulala
12. Dafydd Hewitt
11. Tom James
10. Dan Parks
9. Lloyd Williams
8. Xavier Rush (C)
7. Josh Navidi
6. Michael Paterson
5. James Down
4. Macualey Cook
3. Scott Andrews
2. Ryan Tyrell
1. John Yapp

16. Marc Breeze
17. Nathan Trevett
18. Sam Hobbs
19. Cory Hill
20. Maama Molitika
21. Richie Rees
22. Ceri Sweeney
23. Chris Czekaj

Players unavailable for selection
Leigh halfpenny – dead leg, Gethin Jenkins – shoulder, Sam Warburton – shoulder, T Rhys Thomas – neck, Martyn Williams – ribs, Paul Tito – Head, Richard Mustoe – hip, Fau Filise – shoulder, Andries Pretorius – knee, Deiniol Jones – shoulders, Bradley Davies – suspended