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McNicholl returns for West Wales derby

Guinness PRO12 Rugby Editor

26 Dec 2016

McNicholl

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac can call on the services of winger Johnny McNicholl for the big festive West Wales derby as he makes a return to fitness.

The Scarlets head to the Liberty Stadium, on Tuesday 27th December, for the first of two festive derbies as the GUINNESS PRO12 returns following two weekends of European action.

The hotly anticipated clash will see third place Ospreys welcome fourth place Scarlets to the Liberty with the Scarlets hoping to continue their winning streak in the championship campaign; winning seven PRO12 matches, the best ever run in a single season having picked up 24 points from a possible 25 in the last five Championship games.

Last season each side won at their opponent’s home ground in the PRO12, Scarlets triumphing at Liberty Stadium for the first time since 2007.

As McNicholl returns for only his second Scarlets appearance fellow winger DTH van der Merwe moves to the left wing with the remainder of the backline unchanged from the one that started against Toulon at Parc y Scarlets last weekend whilst the pack remains unchanged.

Speaking ahead of the derby clash head coach Wayne Pivac said; “They’ve got some quality right throughout the team, as we have. I think both clubs are in a pretty good space at the moment. It’s a mouthwatering clash.

“It went well [at the Liberty] last season but it’s a new game, we have to make sure we start well and the set piece goes well so we can play off it.

“Swinging back into the PRO12 it certainly is a massive game. We’ve got players who play together in the Welsh set-up, both teams know each other inside out. It’s certainly one of the biggest games of the season if not the biggest.”

Scarlets team to take on Ospreys at Liberty Stadium, Tuesday 27th December, kick-off 3pm;

15 Liam Williams, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Hadleigh Parkes, 12 Scott Williams, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ken Owens [C], 3 Samson Lee, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Tadhg Beirne, 6 Aaron Shingler, 7 Will Boyde, 8 John Barclay

Replacements; Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones, Werner Kruger, Tom Price, Josh Macleod, Jonathan Evans, Dan Jones, Steff Evans