Scarlets welcome the return of outside Rhys Patchell for the crucial Guinness PRO12 clash against Connacht Rugby at the Sportsground on Saturday 29th April.
Whilst Scarlets are in a position to welcome the return of Patchell, for the penultimate round of the regular PRO12 season, following a calf strain the West Wales region will head to Galway without turnover specialist openside flanker James Davies, who suffered a shoulder injury in the Judgement Day V clash against Newport Gwent Dragons a fortnight ago.
With Scarlets’ strength in depth paying dividends Head Coach Wayne Pivac has named Hadleigh Parkes in midfield alongside Jonathan Davies with Scott Williams moving to the replacements bench. His fellow Welsh international, scrum half Gareth Davies, also moves to the bench with Jonathan Evans coming in to the starting XV.
Flanker Aaron Shingler returns from injury to take his place in the backline alongside Will Boyde, making a return from illness, and Scottish international John Barclay.
Irishman Tadhg Beirne joins Jake Ball in the second row whilst the international front row of Rob Evans, Ken Owens and Samson Lee remains unchanged.
The Sportsground hasn’t been happy hunting ground for the Scarlets in recent years with the homeside securing a victory over the region in November 2014 and January 2016. The West Wales region will be hopeful of a change of fortune but are well aware of the challenge ahead as Connacht also say a fond farewell to coach Pat Lam who will be in charge of his last game at Connacht’s home on Saturday evening.
Looking ahead to the clash head coach Wayne Pivac said; “Connacht are certainly a dangerous side, they throw the ball around from all over the place, we’ve got to make sure that we’re up for the game defensively, there could be a lot of running in the game!
“Last year we went out there and we were very disappointed. We didn’t have the level of discipline required at this level of the game. That’s in the back of the minds. We have to go out there and be very disciplined and make sure that we put on a display that’s worthy of a top four place.
“We need to make sure that mentally and physically we’re right for the game. I’d like to think we’re potentially 80-minutes away from claiming a top four berth, depending on other results. All the incentive is there. We have to take opportunities when they present.”
Scarlets team to take on Connacht Rugby at the Sportsground, Saturday 29th April, kick-off 7.35pm;
15 Johnny Mcnicholl, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Jonathan Evans, 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ken Owens ©, 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, David Bulbring, Josh Macleod, Gareth Davies, Scott Williams, DTH van der Merwe
29 Apr 2017