United Rugby Championship: Sharks v Cardiff (Sun)

Lopeti Timani
Cardiff lock Lopeti Timani has played Test rugby for first Australia and then Tonga
Location: Kings Park, Durban Date: Sunday, 27 November Kick-off: 16:10 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C and via iPlayer. Match report and highlights on the BBC Sport website and app. Highlights on Scrum V, Sunday, 27 November, BBC Two Wales and online from 20:00 BST and later on demand.

Lopeti Timani returns to the Cardiff line-up for Sunday’s United Rugby Championship game away to the Sharks.

The Tonga lock missed the home game against Edinburgh last month and joins Rory Thornton in the second row.

Captain Josh Turnbull is at blindside, with Thomas Young and James Botham completing the back row.

Cardiff are without 11 players due to Wales duty and injuries, including Taulupe Faletau, Tomos Williams, Rhys Priestland and Josh Adams.

Josh Navidi, Willis Halaholo, Liam Williams, Dillon Lewis, Owen Lane, Matthew Morgan and Jacob Beetham are the other players missing from the Welsh side.

Rhys Carré, Liam Belcher and Dmitri Arhip form the Cardiff front row in Durban.

Behind the pack Jarrod Evans and Lloyd Williams continue their partnership at half-back. Rey Lee-Lo returns to the midfield for the first time since the away win over Scarlets, linking up with Max Llewellyn in the center.

Theo Cabango is again given the nod on the wing, Jason Harries occupies the opposite touchline, while Ben Thomas slots in at 15.

Cardiff director of rugby Dai Young said: “We’re looking forward to testing ourselves against a quality team in the Sharks on Sunday.

“We were disappointed with our last game out here last season so we have plenty of motivation to put things right, and we’ve shown we are heading in the right direction and we want to build upon that.

“It is important now that we keep that momentum and confidence and show what we have learned and developed from last season.

“We know what to expect from the Sharks and they are formidable at home but we are in a good place. We will need to perform at our best and if we do that then there is no reason why we cannot make a statement.”

Cardiff have named a six-two split on the bench, with youngsters Ellis Bevan and Mason Grady providing cover for the backline.

Seb Davies is passed fit to feature, having been on the sidelines since mid-October, while Kristian Dacey, Corey Domachowski and James Ratti are also among the replacements.

The home side is missing a number of players on duty for South Africa against England. In all Sharks make eight changes including the return of flanker James Venter to lead the side.

Sharks: Anthony Volmink; Marnus Potgieter, Francois Venter, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Werner Kok; Boetta Chamberlain, Cameron Wright; Dian Bleuler, Kerron van Vuuren, Carlü Sadie, Justin Basson, Gerbrandt Grobler, James Venter (capt), Vincent Tshituka, Sikhumbuzo Notshe.

Replacements: Dan Jooste, Khwezi Mona, Khutha Mchunu, Hyron Andrews, Phepsi Buthelezi, Bradley Davids, Lionel Cronje, Ben Tapuai

Cardiff Rugby: Ben Thomas; Jason Harries, Rey Lee-Lo, Max Llewellyn, Theo Cabango; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Carré, Liam Belcher, Dmitri Arhip, Lopeti Timani, Rory Thornton, Josh Turnbull (capt.), Thomas Young, James Botham.

Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Corey Domachowski, Will Davies-King, Seb Davies, Gwilym Bradley, James Ratti, Ellis Bevan, Mason Grady.

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU)

Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron & Stephan Geldenhuys (SARU)

TMO: Eoghan Cross (IRFU)

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