Team manager Gafyn Cooper said, "Last year was a breakthrough season for us but as a club we are very conscious that we have to build on that success. Finishing runners-up and then champions in successive seasons came about only after several years of player development and establishing a positive coaching environment.
"Paul's appointment is sure to carry on that progress but everyone is aware that it will be even harder to maintain our success in the coming months. Confirming Rhys as captain, a role he took over with great success in the closing weeks of last season, is another important ingredient. He has the full support of all the squad and now we are looking forward to the big kick-off against Swansea on Saturday."
For the visit of Swansea to the Arms Park (kick-off 2.30pm), the Blue & Blacks' squad has a familiar look with only two new faces in the starting line-up.
Former UWIC wing Matthew John features in a back division that also includes Tom Slater who won Wales under-20 and Barbarians' honours before returning to south Wales from Coventry this summer.
Three other recruits, Daniel Preest, Ashley Sweet and Dan Godfrey, are named as replacement forwards while Garyn Lucas returns to the club after a year's interval.
Team : Craig Morgan; Ryan Howells, Shaun James, Darren Ryan, Matthew John; Gareth Davies, Tom Slater; Ian George, Rhys James, Phil Osborne, Matthew Veater, James Down, Jake Thomas, Adam Powell, Rhys Shellard (captain)
Replacements: Garry Horrigan, Daniel Preest, Ashley Sweet, Dan Godfrey, Garyn Lucas, Lee Jarvis, Richard Jones