The Scarlets host Ulster for an exciting Saturday afternoon of rugby at Parc Y Scarlets as the region’s supporters welcome home a number of their World Cup heroes back to heart and soul rugby country.
After a two-week break for the final stages of the Rugby World Cup, league action makes a welcome return with Scarlets V Ulster kicking off at the family-friendly time of 3pm this Saturday at Parc y Scarlets.
Ulster, who are one place above the Scarlets in the RaboDirect PRO12 table, will be looking for a landmark 100th victory in the competition this weekend, but face an energised Scarlets side on home soil and a team boosted by three wins in a row.
The two teams are tight competitors in the league and Saturday’s fixture is expected to be a very close encounter once again – the Scarlets have narrowly lost by just two points in their last two fixtures against the Ulstermen in 2010/2011.
The Scarlets are keeping their pledge to build a strong home record, with their only loss in their last five games at Parc y Scarlets, a narrow 10-15 to Leinster on 24th September.
Scarlets and Ulster were neck-and-neck competitors last season in the battle for a play-off place, and Head of Rugby at the Scarlets, Nigel Davies says the game is a crucial one in his team’s ambitions.
Nigel Davies said: “This is a big game for us and we know how close we run with Ulster both in performance and how closely we’ll compete in getting a top four spot. The results against them will have an important bearing later on the four positions in the league and we’re looking forward to Saturday’s game.”
If the Scarlets win against Ulster they will have secured the same points as they had from corresponding fixtures last season – a bonus point win and they’ll be ahead a point ahead of the same fixtures last season.
“The boys have put in a lot of hard work this week and we’re focused on putting right that last game out in Ravenhill at the end of last season, which was a bitterly disappointing outcome.”
The Scarlets welcome back three of Wales’ World Cup squad to their ranks this weekend, with international hooker Ken Owens getting a start and scrum-half Tavis Knoyle and centre Scott Williams on the bench.
“It’s been very positive to see how eager they’ve been to come back to the Scarlets group. To be able to feature players like Ken Owens, Tavis Knoyle and Scott Williams into our overall line-up this Saturday is a real boost,” said Davies.
“They’re keen to get onto the field and haven’t had as much game time as some of the others and are at the peak of their form, fitness and preparations so are energised and ready to get going in a Scarlets shirt again.
“The other positive factor is that we are starting to build some strength in depth now in our squad and the exposure of some of the exciting new talent we have in our group, many of whom keep their starting places this Saturday, is a sign that competition is building here.”
After strong performances in their last two fixtures against Leicester Tigers and the Blues to secure two convincing bonus point wins, new Scarlets’ backs talent Adam Warren, Aled Thomas, Liam Williams and Rhodri Williams all have starting places. Andy Fenby returns on the wing from a groin injury, Scottish international Sean Lamont takes a centre spot again with Daniel Evans retained at full back after showing a return to form against the Blues last weekend.
Scarlets team against Ulster 29th October 2011, Parc y Scarlets kick off 3pm:
15 Daniel Evans, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Sean Lamont, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Rhodri Williams, 1 Rhodri Jones, 2 Ken Owens, 3 Rhys Thomas, 4 Dominic Day, 5 Damian Welch 6 Rob McCusker (capt), 7 Johnathan Edwards, 8 Ben Morgan.
Replacements: Matthew Rees, Phil John, Simon Gardiner, Aaron Shingler, Richie Pugh, Tavis Knoyle, Daniel Newton, Scott Williams.
The Scarlets are hoping for a colourful afternoon off the field too at their stadium as they set a challenge for younger supporters with a Halloween theme to enter into the spirit of the match day fun and put fear into the opposition!
All supporters are encouraged to come along in their best Halloween fancy dress outfits with prizes for the best on show ! The indoor Daioni Supporters Village will open at 1pm as the Scarlets enjoy a fun-filled afternoon for all the family.