British and Irish Lions prop Gethin Jenkins will captain Cardiff Blues against Sale Sharks tonight when he makes first appearance of the season.
Jenkins required shoulder surgery after returning from the Lions tour of South Africa and Cardiff’s coach Dai Young labelled his return to action as a “massive boost”.
The Blues are without Xavier Rush (flu) as well as Gareth Thomas, Paul Tito and Bradley Davies, who were all casualties of last weekend’s victory over Harlequins.
“Gethin has worked his socks off to get back,” Young told Media Wales.
“Giving him the captaincy is perhaps something of a surprise but he sees that as a role he wants to take on in the future.
“When you have injuries you need someone from the front to lead and Gethin will relish the experience.”
Jenkins’ return to action is also big news for Wales coach Warren Gatland just three weeks before they tackle New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium
Cardiff face a Sale side bolstered by the return of their own Lions loose-head Andrew Sheridan plus Charlie Hodgson and Mark Cueto.
Sharks boss Kingsley Jones has made a total of nine changes after a shadow side was beaten handsomely in Toulouse last weekend.
“This is a massive game for us - not just in terms of giving ourselves a chance to advance out of the pool stages of the Heineken Cup, but we owe our supporters a big performance at home,” said Jones.