Cardiff name squad for Zebre clash as Wales international’s talented younger brother returns

Cardiff Rugby have named the talented young back Mason Grady in their squad of the day for the first time in over 12 months to take on Zebre Parma on Friday night at Cardiff Arms Park (kick-off 19.35).

The rescheduled United Rugby Championship clash is the last home game of the season for the Wales region, where Dai Young’s men will be seeking their first win since victory over Glasgow on 26 March. Four losses followed: two to the Scarlets, one to the Ospreys and it was an away loss to Munster last time out. However, the hosts will be looking to return to winning ways for the occasion, which will also mark Seb Davies’ 100th appearance for the first team and Rhys Carre’s 50th.

Grady, 20, impressed in Cardiff RFC’s title race and is named in the first-team squad for the first time since sustaining a knee injury in March 2021. Wales Under-20s aged just 17 and made its regional debut in November 2020 before its season was cut short.

Davies connects with Matthew Screech in the second row, while Carre joins Liam Belcher and Dmitri Arhip in the front row. Josh Navidi continues as captain on an unchanged back row, with Rhys Priestland and Matthew Morgan coming onto the baseline to replace the injured Jarrod Evans and Hallam Amos, respectively. Kirby Myhill is set to reach a century of United Rugby Championship appearances if he comes off the bench, as Teddy Williams, Ellis Bevan and Ben Thomas are welcomed back to the squad of the day.

As for Zebre, Franco Smith Jr. will make his debut if called up from the replacement bench and Ross Vintcent will make his first appearance with the team.

Cardiff boss Young said: “First of all we must congratulate Seb and Rhys on reaching these milestones. They have enjoyed some good individual form in recent weeks and it would be great if they could celebrate with a win.

“We are very disappointed with our results and performances in the last month and we are determined to win again in our last home game of the season. It is vitally important to us that we deliver the performance required to get a result and say thank you to our fans for their support this season.

“We certainly won’t take Zebre lightly, they got a good win last week and have managed some very good teams close by, so we’ll need to execute our game plan and be precise in all areas of the pitch and for 80 minutes. Injuries have started to pile up after so many consecutive weeks of rugby, due to so few, but we are all focused on a positive end to the season and it also gives some of our younger players more opportunities.

After Zebre, Cardiff take on the Dragons at Rodney Parade on May 13 and travel to Benetton on May 20.

Cardiff Rugby: 15. Matthew Morgan; 14. Owen Lane, 13. King Lee-Lo, 12. Max Llewellyn, 11. Theo Cabango; 10.Rhys Priestland, 9.Lloyd Williams; 1. Rhys Carré, 2. Liam Belcher, 3. Dmitri Arhip, 4. Seb Davies, 5. Matthew Screech, 6. James Botham, 7. Josh Navidi (capt), 8. James Ratti.

Replacements: 16. Kirby Myhill, 17. Corey Domachowski, 18. Dillon Lewis, 19. Teddy Williams, 20. Ellis Jenkins, 21. Ellis Bevan, 22. Ben Thomas, 23. Mason Grady.

parma zebra : 15. Michelangelo Biondelli, 14. Junior Laloifi, 13. Erich Cronjé, 12. Franco Smith Jr, 11. Simone Gesi, 10. Timothy O’Malley, 9. Chris Cook, 1. Paolo Buonfiglio, 2. Luca Bigi, 3 Ion Neculai, 4. David Sisi (captain), 5. Andrea Zambonin, 6. Luca Andreani, 7. Maxime Mbandà, 8. Jimmy Tuivaiti.

replacements : 16. Massimo Ceciliani, 17. Juan Pitinari, 18. Eduardo Bello, 19. Gabriele Venditti, 20. Ross Vintcent, 21. Nicolò Casilio, 22. Carlo Canna, 23. Lorenzo Pani.

Referee: Ben Blain (SRU)

Assistant referees Simon Rees and Carwyn Williams (WRU)

OMT: Ian Davies (WRU)

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