Cardiff Rugby, twice winners of the EPCR Challenge Cup, hope to welcome back as many as nine players for this season’s opener against CA Brive at the Arms Park on Saturday.

The Welsh side are already on a high after claiming five points on their recent United Rugby Championship trip to South Africa and their confidence has been boosted further by the return to training of five Welsh internationals, plus four other players.

Dillon Lewis, Taulupe Faletau, Tomos Williams, Rhys Priestland and Josh Adams all missed Cardiff’s trip to Durban and Pretoria due to their international commitments, while they will be joined by Matthew Morgan and Rey Lee-Lo. Max Llewellyn and Theo Cabango should also be in contention.

Director of rugby Dai Young said: “We will have a stronger squad to pick from and probably a more recognised 23 than it was against the Bulls. We will certainly have eight to 10 players available for next weekend to add to what we have here.”

Fly-half Jarrod Evans is relishing the opportunity of the Challenge Cup and believes Cardiff can grasp it with plenty of confidence.

“We’ve got a new competition now so we can refocus and concentrate on that,” he said. “The international boys will be joining up with us, so that will be good.

“There’s still a lot to play for and we can still be positive. There was a lot of effort put in [in South Africa], we will recover, get home and focus on Brive coming next weekend.”