Cuthbert to play 100th game for Blues


Wales wing Alex Cuthbert will make his 100th appearance for Cardiff Blues when they take on Stade Francais in the Champions Cup playoff semifinal in Paris on Friday.

The Blues — who remain without British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton — have made three changes to the starting side that beat Newport Gwent Dragons in the Pro12 last week with Rhys Gill, Josh Navidi and Tom James returning from fitness.

Stade Francais — fresh from their European Challenge Cup triumph over Gloucester — are without Australian scrum-half Will Genia, lock Hugh Pyle, fullback Hugo Bonneval and centre Geoffrey Doumayrou.

Former Springboks fly-half Morne Steyn starts with Jules Pisson dropping to the bench, while France prop Rabah Slimani is also among the reserves.

It’s the last time there’ll be a playoff for the final Champions Cup qualification spot after tournament organisers announced the 20th and final place will be awarded to the Challenge Cup winners from next season.

Cardiff Blues: Morgan, Cuthbert, Lee-Lo, Halaholo, James, Anscombe, L. Williams; Gill, Rees, Filise, Hoeata, Cook, Navidi, Jenkins (captain), N. Williams.

Replacements: Myhill, Domachowski, Peikrishvili, Davies, Bennett, T. Williams, Shingler, R. Williams.

Stade Français: Sinzelle, Vuidarvuwalu, Danty, Bosman, Macalou, Steyn, Dupuy; Van der Merwe, Bonfils, Emile, Alberts, Gabrillagues, Burban, Ugena, Parisse (captain).

Replacements: Panis, Slimani, Melikidze, De Giovanni, Lakafia, Daguin, Plisson, Ross.