SCARLETS get the festive derbies underway this Saturday with a trip across the Loughor to the Liberty Stadium to take on nearest neighbours and rivals the Ospreys.
Head Coach Wayne Pivac has made changes to the side that faced Ulster in last weekend’s Heineken Champions Cup clash as he looks to refocus the group and build momentum in the Guinness PRO14 with one eye on the push to play-offs.
Scarlets are currently sat in joint second position in Conference B needing to keep the pressure on leaders Leinster as well as open up a gap on those chasing their tails.
Rhys Patchell moves to fullback for Saturday’s derby clash with Hadleigh Parkes slotting in at outside half. Johnny McNicholl, who will make his 50thappearance, moves to the left wing with Tom Prydie on the right. Kieron Fonotia returns to the midfield, alongside Jonathan Davies, after sitting out last weekend with a leg injury. Gareth Davies retains his scrum half berth.
Up front loosehead prop Rob Evans returns to action after suffering an ankle injury in the European campaign against Ulster at Parc y Scarlets whilst the remainder of the front and second row remain unchanged.
Ed Kennedy is cleared to play after following concussion protocol, James Davies returns from a toe injury and Will Boyde moves across to number 8 with Uzair Cassiem the latest back row injury (shoulder).
Looking ahead to the first of three festive derbies for the Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac said; “There are going to be match-ups right across the park. As a Welsh player these are the games you want to stand up in and be counted.
“I just love the derbies, I think they’re fantastic. These are the games that we really look forward to, coaches look forward to these games as much as the players and fans I think.”
Ospreys have rested some of their key players in the most recent rounds of their Challenge Cup campaign, Pivac went on to say; “We don’t have that luxury. We have some players at the moment that are running on fumes. We’re looking at all the different scenarios, hopefully we can position the squad so that we get the best performance possible on the weekend.”
Scarlets team to take on Ospreys at Liberty Stadium, Saturday 22nd December, kick-off 15:00;
15 Rhys Patchell, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Kieron Fonotia, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Hadleigh Parkes, 9 Gareth Davies, 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ken Owens (c), 3 Samson Lee, 4 Jake Ball, 5 David Bulbring, 6 Ed Kennedy, 7 James Davies, 8 Will Boyde
Replacements; 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 Dan Davis, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Steff Evans