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
The Wales U18 squad spent an emotional day in the drug-riddled townnship of Hout Bay. Hout Bay Warriors President Fred Johannes said the visit was 'the talk of the town' and will dream about the day everyday for the rest of his life.
RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.
A joint venture between the WRU and Admiral saw hundreds of children enjoy the Admiral Festival of Rugby held at the National Centre of Excellence at the weekend where Welsh internationals Sam Warburton, Scott Williams and Rob Evans were in attendance.
Wll Jones leads Wales U18s into battle this afternoon against Italy where the Welsh side will be seeking to bounce back from their narrow defeat to SA Schools in their opening clash of the U19 International Series
All four regions attended a successful training camp staged last weekend at the WRU National Centre of Excellence. It was a chance for new Wales Women's head coach Rowland Phillips to deliver his key messages to players and coaches as he prepares for the new season.
Wales U18 Team Manager Gethin Watts believes the next couple of weeks will be 'extremely beneficial' to the future of Welsh rugby as his side prepare to take part in the Under 19 International Series being staged in South Africa.
The WRU is searching for 12 new rugby development apprentices following a successful first year of its WRU Coach Core programme. Craig Duncan and Jess Hancock have flourished in the first year of the programme which has given them a real direction in their lives.
The WRU signed TV comedian Rhod Gilbert up to a 'Coaching Children Level 1' course before letting him loose on an U8s side at Whitland Junior Borderers - we went behind the scenes to film the making of 'Rhod Gilbert's Work Experience' see the results here.
Llandovery are aiming to make it three titles in a row in this year's Foster's National 7s being held at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday 28 August. Drovers assistant coach Simon Davies and Lee Rees assess their sides chances
A pioneering strength and conditioning programme has been delivered to more than 8000 boys and girls at hub schools throughout Wales this season, helping to develop stronger, more flexible athletes for rugby and other sports.
The Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series returns to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on July 22nd when all four Welsh regions go head to head. Scarlets skills coach Dai Flanagan and Blues Elite Performance Pathway Manager Richard Hodges along with current Welsh squad members were at the launch of this season's event