JAMIE Roberts will make a return to Cardiff Arms Park in Dragons colours in the Rainbow Cup on Sunday.

The former Wales and Lions centre is a Cardiff Blues great after making 86 appearances between 2005 and 2013, a spell that featured triumphs in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and European Challenge Cup.

Roberts, who lives a short stroll away from the Arms Park, is set for an emotional return, albeit one without fans in the stands (kick-off 1pm).

The 34-year-old played his former side with Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop and captained the Dragons in the 13-12 loss to the Blues at Rodney Parade on Boxing Day.

He sat out the Rainbow Cup opener against the Scarlets when Aneurin Owen and Jared Rosser started, with Jack Dixon coming off the bench.

However, he will make a return to midfield as director of rugby Dean Ryan continues to mix youth and experience.

13.03.21 - Dragons v Ulster - Guinness PRO14 - Jamie Roberts of Dragons is tackled by Michael Lowry of Ulster.

13.03.21 - Dragons v Ulster - Guinness PRO14 - Jamie Roberts of Dragons is tackled by Michael Lowry of Ulster.

"Jamie will definitely be playing. It's a great time for him to come back in. He has been a fantastic role model for us and is a great rock in that midfield," said Ryan.

"If we are going to utilise the opportunity to introduce some youngsters it's really important that there are people like Jamie there creating stability for them.

"He was only ever going to play one of these weeks. We looked at it and said we could look at Aneurin at 12 against the Scarlets, which was great for us, but that this is a game that Jamie would love to play in."

Roberts had been an influential figure on and off the field for the Dragons, making 16 appearances and earning a fresh one-year contract.

He will come into the side for Cardiff but Rhodri Williams will drop out after suffering a shoulder injury when diving for the line against the Scarlets.

The scrum-half was pushed into touch and landed awkwardly on artificial grass with little cushioning.

Williams was always set to sit out the Arms Park encounter but there is relief that the injury is not severe.

"Gonzalo Bertranou will come in and Dan Babos will continue (on the bench)," said Ryan.

"Rhodri should appear in the latter games of this competition once some of that soreness has gone away."

Both teams are named at midday with Blues boss Dai Young pledging to field more first teamers after an experimental side was beaten 36-14 by the Ospreys.

"This week we will be much stronger. I wouldn't say we will be full strength or what most people perceive to be full strength but we will be much closer to it," said the director of rugby.

"We're respecting this competition but it's also a real opportunity to sort through what could be a starting 23 moving forward to next year.

"It's important to give people opportunities to force their way into that but as this competition goes we will get closer and closer to our best 23."