Martyn Williams has made a quicker than expected return from injury to line up for Cardiff Blues' EDF opener against Sale Sharks on Saturday.
Wales flanker Williams was ruled until the start of the Blues' Heineken Cup campaign after he tore ankle ligaments last month.
But while Williams fast recovery is a boost, Blues coach Dai Young's mood has been dampened following an injury setback to talismanic number eight Xavier Rush.
The 33-year-old former All Black suffered a reaction on his return from a knee injury against Connacht last weekend and will sit out the trip to Stockport.
Young said: "Just when we get one quality player back, we lose another one in Xavier Rush. He came through the match but still felt sore and stiff on Monday. We don't want him to get a long-term injury."
Rush is expected to be available for the Blues' European opener with Calvisano next Saturday along with Wales prop Gethin Jenkins who has a neck injury.
In the backs division, Jamie Robinson continues to get the nod over British Lion Tom Shanklin to partner Jamie Roberts at centre.
Young added: "The season is all about momentum and we've been building nicely over the last two weeks. If we can pick up a good result at Sale, it will boost our confidence even further going into Europe."
Sale Sharks hand their full debuts to Nick Mcleod at Full Back against his old club and Andy Tuilagi in the centre.
Head Coach Kingsley Jones said, " We have rested several players this week but we still have seven full internationals in the starting fifteen. Cardiff have named a full strength team for the game and it will give all the players we have selected an opportunity to impress and push for a first team place. The Autumn Internationals are just around the corner and as Philippe and I both said pre season, we will be using the whole squad during the season and giving all our younger players their chance."
Included in the 22 is Nick Royle who is on loan from Fylde RUFC. Royle has trained with the Sale squad during the pre-season and went on their tour to France in August as well as playing in the Middlesex 7s tournament. He has been a regular in the Sharks 'A' squad in the past two seasons.
Cardiff Blues: B Blair; L Halfpenny, J Robinson, J Roberts, G Thomas, C Sweeney, R Rees; J Yapp, R Thomas, T Filise, B Davies, P Tito (capt), A Powell, M Lewis, M Williams
Replacements: G Powell, G Williams, D Jones, R Sowden-Taylor, D Allinson, N Robinson, T Shanklin.
Sale: Nick McLeod, Selorm Kuadey, Rudi Keil, Andy Tuilagi, Oriol Ripol, Richard Wigglesworth, Chris Leck, Lionel Faure, Marc Jones, Martin Halsall, Chris Jones, Brent Cockbain, Jason White Captain, David Tait, Carl Fearns Replacements: Rob O'Donnell, Ross Davies, James Gaskell, Alex Shaw, Johnny Kennedy, Nick Royle, Will Cliff Stand By Player Tom Holmes
Ahead of their SSE SWALEC Bowl Final clash with Taffs Well at Principality Stadium on Sunday, Burry Port share their #FABXV nomination with WRUTV in the search for Welsh rugby's greatest volunteers. Everyone can get involved by sending nominations via twitter to @WRU_Community using the hashtag #FABXV
Cardiff Blues prop Gethin Jenkins and Ospreys centre Ben John look ahead to the first game at Principality Stadium in Saturday's double header which is promising to be a special occasion for all Welsh fans.
Carmarthen Quins Director of Rugby Ian Jones and committee member Jeff Thomas along with Llandovery chairman Handel Davies look ahead to Sunday's SSE SWALEC Cup showdown where both teams are out to prove 'West is best'
SWALEC ambassador Shane WIlliams is looking forward to Sunday's Finals Day where the Cup, Bowl and Plate offers a great opportunity for players and teams to experience the magic of playing at Principality Stadium
Carmarthen Quins coach Richard Kelly believes it is an exciting time to be part of the Scarlets region as his side take on local rivals Llandovery in the SSE Swalec Cup final on Sunday, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers
Scarlets long serving prop Phil John talks to WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie about Judgement Day IV and SSE Swalec Cup finals day. The last time Llandovery were in the cup final in 2007, the Drovers claimed the spoils with Phil playing a major role in the engine room.
Meet Aberdare coach Luke Thomas whose #FABXV nomination goes to super volunteer Daz with a whopping 10 things he does for the club each week, all except the ironing! You can also join in the search for Welsh rugby's greatest volunteers, by sending your nomination via twitter to @WRU_Community using the hashtag #FABXV
SSE Swalec Cup kings Pontypridd travelled to Swansea, fully expecting a return to their second home but Llandovery had other ideas as they also sought victory in the semi-final to earn the right to play the final at Principality Stadium