The Scarlets travel to Aironi for their fifth away fixture in the Magners League knowing they will need to retain the intensity of last weekend’s performance against league leaders Munster to secure victory out in Northern Italy.
There are only four changes to the Scarlets starting line-up to face Aironi, with powerful former Wallaby no8 David Lyons back from injury and taking the captain’s armband, Nick Reynolds replacing winger Lee Williams (minor shoulder injury) and Tavis Knoyle back from the Wales camp, starting at scrum-half. Ben Morgan who has impressed recently with strong performances at no8 for the Scarlets moves to flanker.
Scarlets starting XV v Aironi, Stadio Zaffanella, Saturday 27thNovember kick-off 7.05pm: Daniel Evans, Morgan Stoddart, Gareth Maule, Regan King, Nick Reynolds, Rhys Priestland, Tavis Knoyle, Iestyn Thomas, Ken Owens, Peter Edwards, Lou Reed, Dominic Day, Ben Morgan, Johnathan Edwards, David Lyons (capt).
Replacements: Emyr Phillips, Phil John, Simon Gardner, Damian Welch, Jonny Fa’amatuainu, Martin Roberts, Dan Newton, Scott Williams.
Scarlets Defence Coach Simon Easterby said: “It was a big disappointment to us not to have won out in Munster last weekend and to lose by only one point, it’s a game we should have won – that’s not to take away from the effort that the players put in, but you just can’t afford to concede soft tries like that and not take your chances.
“We’ve been really pleased with the performance in our pack and despite the injuries and international call-ups in recent games, we’ve had good set-piece play in both scrum and line-out and the forwards are giving our attack plenty to work with at the moment which is a real positive.
“We may have beaten Aironi at home last time out but that was early in the season and we won’t be taking too much from that. The team knows it will have to perform at the same level of intensity that we put into the Munster game, to concentrate and be clinical for the full 80 minutes.”
The Scarlets are currently sitting in second position in the Magners League on 25 points and have won five of their eight encounters in the Magners League with two away wins against Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons. The Scarlets beat Aironi when they last met in mid-September at Parc y Scarlets, recording with a season’s best score line (49-10) and six tries on their home soil.
Scarlets Head Coach Nigel Davies added: “We are now a performance side and we have to win games – we let a golden opportunity slip away from us last weekend and a win we probably deserved.
“We’ll be going to Aironi to win a game of rugby and if we maintain the intensity we gave last weekend throughout the game, we should do well. We’re pushing our standards and expectations on from last season and competition is really building here. A good example is the competition in our back row at the moment – the guys know they have to perform to get the shirt.
“Aironi have a number of quality individuals in their team and when you break their team down, there’s plenty of danger in there. They haven’t got a foothold in their games so far but they’ve got new faces coming in and that will give a different perspective and slant on things. That’s why it is important that we approach this game in the right frame of mind.”