Pro12: Alex Cuthbert back for Cardiff Blues v Connacht on Friday


  • Venue: Cardiff Arms Park
  • Date: Friday, 13 September
  • Kick-off: 19:05 BST

Coverage: Live on BBC Two Wales & the BBC Sport website; live scores on the BBC Sport website & Scrum V on BBC Radio Wales sport

Cardiff Blues' British and Irish Lions Test wing Alex Cuthbert will return to their starting line-up against Connacht in the Pro12 at the Arms Park on Friday.

The game will be broadcast live by Scrum V on BBC Two Wales and on the BBC Sport website.

However, Cuthbert's fellow Blues and Lions Sam Warburton and Leigh Halfpenny remain on the sidelines.

And 2009 Lion Gethin Jenkins also continues to be an absentee.

Connacht coach Pat Lam has made two changes from last weekend's opening win over Zebre.

Gavin Duffy's return at full-back sees Robbie Henshaw switching to centre with Danie Poolman dropping to the replacements.

Another backs change is Tiernan O'Halloran's inclusion in place of rested Fionn Carr.

Lions tour skipper Warburton missed the third-Test win against Australia that gave the tourists a 2-1 series win because of a torn hamstring.


Leigh Halfpenny (Blues)

George North (Northampton)

Jonathan Davies (Scarlets)

Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro)

Alex Cuthbert (Blues)

Shane Williams (Mitsubishi Dynaboars)

Mike Phillips (Bayonne)

Richard Hibbard (Ospreys)

Adam Jones (Ospreys)

Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys)

Ian Evans (Ospreys)

Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro)

Toby Faletau (Dragons)

Sam Warburton (Blues)

Justin Tipuric (Ospreys)

Flanker Warburton's return date has yet to be determined.

Man-of-the-Series Halfpenny's extended post-tour rest is expected to end when the Blues host Italian side Zebre in the Pro12 on Friday, 20 September.

However, prop Jenkins, an original 2013 Lions tour member who was ruled out by a calf injury before having a chance to play, is again denied a playing return.

Blues boss Phil Davies confirmed Cuthbert will start on Friday, adding: "Whether he'll play 80 [minutes] remains to be seen."

Three of the Ospreys' 2013 Welsh Lions were back in action on the Pro12's opening weekend when Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard and Ian Evans played their part in beating Treviso in Italy.

Former Blues, Wales and Lions flanker Martyn Williams has highlighted the dilemma Wales' regions face over when their 2013 Lions tourists should return amid concerns over player burn-out.

Newport Gwent Dragons coach Lyn Jones says number eight Toby Faletau has to "pull his socks up" after his post-tour break.

But Faletau's former Dragons' team-mate Dan Lydiate and ex-Blues centre Jamie Roberts have been involved in French Top 14 action since their season began in August for Racing Metro.

Likewise scrum-half Mike Phillips has turned out for Bayonne and wing George North made his full Northampton debut in their 38-11 Aviva Premiership win over Exeter last weekend.

Scarlets centre and joint captain for 2013-14 Jonathan Davies has yet to be named in match squad.

And the Ospreys have not indicated when skipper and lock Alun Wyn Jones and flanker Justin Tipuric will return following their efforts down under.

Cardiff Blues: Tom Williams, Alex Cuthbert, Owen Williams, Dafydd Hewitt, Harry Robinson, Rhys Patchell, Lloyd Williams; Taufa'ao Filise, Matthew Rees (c), Scott Andrews, Bradley Davies, Filo Paulo, Andries Pretorius, Josh Navidi, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Sam Hobbs, Benoit Bourrust, Lou Reed, Macauley Cook, Lewis Jones, Gareth Davies, Gavin Evans.

Connacht: G Duffy; T O'Halloran; R Henshaw, E Griffin, M Healy; D Parks, K Marmion; B Wilkinson, J Harris-Wright, N White; M Swift (capt), A Browne; J Muldoon, W Faloon, G Nauopu

Replacements: S Henry, R Ah You, R Loughney, A Muldowney, J Heenan, P O'Donohue, C Ronaldson, T O'Halloran