Scarlets expect physical test against Italian newcomers

Guinness PRO12 Editor

15 Sep 2010


News, Scarlets

The Scarlets’ second home game of the season kicks off on Friday evening when they face their next big Italian encounter of the season against Magners League newcomers Aironi.

Scarlets internationals Stephen Jones, Matthew Rees (captain) and Sean Lamont will once again appear in the Scarlets starting line-up in a strong starting XV, that is largely unchanged after the region’s win over Connacht last Saturday afternoon.

And Parc y Scarlets looks forward to hosting another exciting game of rugby – following on from a thrilling, edge-of-the-seat finish to last Saturday’s game, which saw the Scarlets win 35-33 against Connacht and secure a bonus point victory.

Second row Dominic Day returns to the starting line-up as does newly-capped Wales scrum-half Tavis Knoyle who impressed when he came off the bench last weekend. Scarlets international captain and stalwart no8 David Lyons, returns to the field after a minor hamstring injury and Rhys Priestland is back from a minor knee injury and is on the bench.

Andy Fenby keeps his place at full-back after proving his worth as part of threatening back three combination with Scottish international winger Sean Lamont and 18-year-old rising star George North who scored two tries on his debut against Treviso. Deacon Manu returns to start at tighthead with Rhys Thomas on the bench.

With competition for places building in the Scarlets squad, there have been some tough selection decisions once again for Head Coach Nigel Davies and his team who say it is helping raise the bar in training.

Nigel Davies said: “It’s clear from the selection battles we’ve got, that it’s a very competitive environment here at the moment, which is crucial to us going forward. We haven’t been in that position for some time and it gives us more options. The players know that they have to be up to standard every game and play for the shirt and that with this level of competition, no place is guaranteed.

“In the context of our season and looking ahead at key games, we will be managing our squad and will give players their opportunities, but they know that when they get that chance they have to really stand-up and impress.”

On the opposition for Friday night’s game Davies said: “We’ve had a really good look at them, saw them in the Ulster game and what we’ve seen is a very good side. Aironi are big and physical and we expect them to come with a big set-piece. They’ve got a certain amount of quality in their team.

“We have to muscle up forwards wise and be far more accurate than last week – if we do those things, we’re confident of getting something out of this game. It was evident last weekend that we were creating lost of opportunities but because of inaccuracies we put more pressure on ourselves. The boys have worked hard in training this week and we’ll have to be far more clinical on Friday night.”

Scarlets starting XV against Aironi; Parc y Scarlets kick-off 8.05pm, Magners League: Andy Fenby, George North, Regan King, Jon Davies, Sean Lamont, Stephen Jones, Tavis Knoyle, Iestyn Thomas, Matthew Rees (capt), Deacon Manu, Lou Reed, Dominic Day, Rob McCusker, Johnathan Edwards, David Lyons.

Replacements: Ken Owens, Phil John, Rhys Thomas, Jonny Fa’amatuainu, Josh Turnbull, Martin Roberts, Gareth Maule, Rhys Priestland.


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