Tom Shanklin will captain the side for the third time when they face Connacht. Speaking ahead of the game Shanklin said, "Xavier Rush is suffering from a throat infection and won't be involved this weekend, so I'm honoured to lead the troops out for the match."
"Hopefully it will be a hat-trick of wins for me as we won when I captained the team at home against Ulster and also out in Galway previously; hopefully that is a lucky omen when we play Connacht this weekend."
"I don't think the role will affect my game hugely, but it is a role that I will take seriously. We have a job to do out in Connacht and we are all focused on that."
Martyn Williams gets a well earned rest while Jamie Robinson has a slight groin strain and is also rested as a precaution.
The Blues welcome the return of back row forward Andy Powell and centre Tom Riley. Powell required shoulder reconstruction surgery after coming off injured in the friendly match against Bristol in August while Riley also suffered a shoulder injury in the win against Wasps in September.
Although the backs are largely unchanged, there are a number of changes in the pack. Returning to the starting line-up are two British Lions Gethin Jenkins and Tom Shanklin, both were unavailable for the EDF Energy Cup semi-final at the Millennium Stadium a fortnight ago. The other changes in the forwards see Mark Lewis joining Robin in the back row and Bradley Davies partnering Rob Sidoli at second row.
The Blues have won three of their last four games in the Magners League, with wins against the Llanelli Scarlets and Border Reivers at the Arms Park and an away win over Munster at Musgrave Park on March 2nd. The only loss was against Glasgow Warriors, away, at the start of the Six Nations.
Blues: Ben Blair; Tom James, Tom Shanklin (Capt), Marc Stcherbina, Chris Czekaj; Nicky Robinson, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Gareth Williams, Taufa'ao Filise, Bradley Davies, Rob Sidoli, Scott Morgan, Robin Sowden-Taylor, Mark Lewis
Replacements: Scott Roberts, T. Rhys Thomas, Deiniol Jones, Andy Powell, Ed Fairhurst, Nick Macleod, Tom Riley