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Scarlets team news team to Connacht

Guinness PRO12 Editor

23 Apr 2010


British Lions and Wales international hooker, Matthew Rees returns to the Scarlets starting line-up for Sunday’s Magners League game against Connacht (Parc y Scarlets KO 2.05pm) in a game viewed by the region as a chance for the home side to restore pride at the end of the season.

Stephen Jones is ruled out for this week’s game with a minor ankle injury and hopes to be back next week for the final game of the season against Glasgow at home. Richie Pugh also doesn’t make the fitness race after picking up a shoulder injury against the Cardiff Blues last weekend.

Rhys Priestland comes back at outside half with Martin Roberts starting at scrum-half ahead of Tavis Knoyle on Sunday afternoon, lock Damian Welch gets a chance to impress with a start for the region and experienced 50 Euro cap prop Iestyn Thomas is back in the Scarlets XV.

Head Coach Nigel Davies said; "We have had a very focused and honest week and as a group got to the core of some issues regarding our last two performances which we have been very disappointed with.

"We dropped off the level of performance we are capable of and need to get back on our feet quickly and return where we have been previously this season, particularly in our European campaign which has in the main been really positive given where this group is in its development.

"We are very disappointed with our league position, and while we know we have come close to wins on so many occasions – ultimately the table does not lie.

"We want to put that right this weekend and we know we have just got to put in two massive performances at the end of the season to show people what we are capable of and to excite our supporters again going into next season.

"We need to get some respect back for ourselves as a team and for our support, which has been great this season home and away."

Scotland and Scarlets winger, Sean Lamont said there is still massive potential in the region for next season and getting the foundations right in the next two games would help kick start a re-focus in pre-season training over the summer.

He said: "In the last two games we under performed, it wasn’t our game plans or what we’d been coached in the week, there was good stuff we had worked on but we just didn’t do what we set out to. In both games we were basically outworked – especially last week. In the cold light of day, the boys know that and we did not work hard enough.

"There has been a lot of honesty this week, issues were aired, sometimes it takes meetings like we had on Monday to move you on and hopefully we’ve all taken it on board – these next two games will tell and of course, we are looking to finish the two games with wins.

"The boys want to do that and the supporters deserve it – they have been loyal to us all season. That said, they will be two tough games with two teams that have been on good form and put some big wins together- – so it will be no mean feat but we know it’s something we need to do.

"Both the sides we face still have something to play for – but so do we – we have pure pride to play for. We don’t want to end the season on a losing streak so hopefully we can get a change around this weekend and finish these two games on a high note."

Scarlets selection v Connacht; Magners League Sunday 25th April 2010 (kick off 1405) at Parc y Scarlets.

15 Daniel Evans, 14 Sean Lamont, 13 Regan King, 12 Jonathan Davies 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Martin Roberts, 1 Iestyn Thomas, 2 Matthew Rees, 3 Rhys Thomas, 4 Lou Reed, 5 Damian Welch, 6 Rob McCusker, 7 Josh Turnbull, 8 David Lyons (capt).

Replacements: 16 Phil John, 17 Emyr Phillips, 18 Deacon Manu 19 Dominic Day, 20 Tavis Knoyle, 21 Dan Newton, 22 Lee Williams.