The Scarlets will start with the majority of the XV that secured victory last time out against the Dragons in tomorrow night’s big derby fixture – as the age-old rugby rivals look forward to an intense and exciting night of rugby at a packed Parc y Scarlets stadium.
The Scarlets play host to the Ospreys, Saturday 2nd October at Parc y Scarlets in the Magners League (kick-off 8.10pm). With both sides looking to build momentum in the Magners League and with Europe’s opening games on the horizon in a week’s time, this traditionally high octane fixture has all the ingredients for a classic encounter that is as much about pride as points.
Two Scarlets don’t make the fitness race this week – centre Jon Davies (ankle sprain) and hooker Ken Owens (arm). Opportunities are handed to the skilful and talented centre Gareth Maule, and the star of last year’s Heineken Cup victory over London Irish, full back Daniel Evans. Both backs will be eager to impress in the Scarlets shirt at one of the top billing games of the region’s home season.
With plenty of experience for the big occasion to found across the field with the likes of international class players Stephen Jones, Matthew Rees, David Lyons, Sean Lamont, Iestyn Thomas and Deacon Manu, the Scarlets will be looking build on this season’s positive league form which has secured them three consecutive wins.
Scarlets starting XV against Ospreys Saturday 2nd October 8.10pm, Parc y Scarlets : Daniel Evans, George North, Regan King, Gareth Maule, Sean Lamont, Stephen Jones, Tavis Knoyle, Iestyn Thomas, Matthew Rees (capt), Deacon Manu, Lou Reed, Dominic Day, Josh Turnbull, Johnathan Edwards, David Lyons.
Replacements: Emyr Phillips, Phil John, Rhys Thomas, Jonny Fa’amatuainu, Rob McCusker, Martin Roberts, Scott Williams, Rhys Priestland.
In their last 14 league encounters, the Ospreys are out in front with 9 wins over their neighbours – with the Scarlets winning five. The Scarlets have scored 139 points in four league games so far this season and 16 tries in their campaign, with plenty of strike power in their back division, the hosts are eager for the Ospreys challenge.
Davies added that the emotion and energy of the Scarlets v Ospreys encounter and a big home crowd will add to the atmosphere at Parc y Scarlets – with more than 12,000 tickets already sold.
Head Coach Nigel Davies: ““This game will be about who turns up hungrier on the day, the form leading up to it doesn’t always count for much – it will probably rest on a couple of key moments, who gets them right and who takes their chances. It’s going to be a tough match, it’s a massive game in its own right and both teams understand that.”
“It’s one of the big games people want to come and watch and rightly so – the intensity it generates, the rivalry is huge and the respect is there between the two sides. These games always have an extra edge.
“Jon has been in great form and while it’s disappointing that he and Ken Owens haven’t quite made the fitness race, it’s important we don’t push them and that they recover properly for some big matches ahead of us in October.
“We have always been comfortable to push forward our talent and give players exposure to the big games. Gareth Maule, Dan Evans and Scott Williams are three Scarlets who will relish taking their opportunities in this derby and have a lot to offer.
“Gareth has been going really well in training, he’s really stepped up this season and has shown his qualities when he’s come on. Dan Evans has plenty of skill and experience of the big games at full-back and Scott is a powerful player, in a similar mould to Jon Davies and we’ve seen what he can do both in his games for the Premiership and with Wales U20’s.”