SCARLETS will take on Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness PRO14 semi final on Friday night at Scotstoun Stadium as the West Wales region look to secure a victory for an opportunity to retain the trophy in Dublin next weekend.
Conference A leaders Glasgow secured a home semi final after an impressive season in the cross-conference competition, finishing seven points clear of second placed Munster at the end of the regular season games.
The Scarlets will take on Glasgow after securing a victory over newcomers Cheetahs in the quarter-final and will be hoping to see a repeat of last year’s successes to pave the way to the final, to be held once again in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, on Saturday 26th May.
Head coach Wayne Pivac has selected a strong side for the clash peppered with international talent both in the pack and across the backline.
With Leigh Halfpenny unavailable due to a hamstring injury, sustained in the quarter-final clash against Cheetahs, Scarlets have been forced to make one change to the backline.
Kiwi Johnny McNicholl makes a timely recovery from shoulder injury to take Halfpenny’s place at fullback. Two personnel changes upfront see Aaron Shingler returning to the starting XV, which in turn sees fans favourite Tadhg Beirne return to the second row to partner Steve Cummins with Lewis Rawlins moving to the replacements bench.
Looking ahead to the game Head Coach Wayne Pivac said; “They’ve got a very good record at home. They play on a different surface, which they’re used to, so they have a bit of an advantage there, but it’s 80 minutes of knockout rugby. We think we’re in a reasonably good position in terms of our form going in to it.
“We’re really looking forward to it. We have a lot of respect for Glasgow, they have a good coaching group, some greats players and they’ve got a very strong home record. It makes for a good match-up. Both teams like to play, use the width of the field, and with that type of play it could be a great game.
“Boys enjoy knockout rugby and they enjoy being in these situations. We’re going in there with the mindset that we need to secure a top performance to be able to get on the right side of the ledger.”
Scarlets team to take on Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness PRO14 semi-final, Scotstoun Stadium, Friday (May 18):
15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ken Owens ©, 3 Samson Lee, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 5 Steve Cummins, 6 Aaron Shingler, 7 James Davies, 8 John Barclay Replacements; Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones, Werner Kruger, Lewis Rawlins, Will Boyde, Jonathan Evans, Dan Jones, Steff Hughes
Glasgow Warriors team:
Stuart Hogg; Tommy Seymour, Nick Grigg, Sam Johnson, DTH van der Merwe; Finn Russell, George Horne; Jamie Bhatti, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson; Tim Swinson, Jonny Gray; Matt Fagerson, Callum Gibbins, Ryan Wilson (capt). Replacements: George Turner, Alex Allan, Siua Halanukonuka, Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, Henry Pyrgos, Peter Horne, Ruaridh Jackson.
Referee: John Lacey (IRFU, 70th competition game)
AR1: Andrew Brace (IRFU).
AR2: Frank Murphy (IRFU)
TMO: Olly Hodges (IRFU)