Archie Hughes to make first Scarlets start in Clermont

Rob Lloyd News

Scrum-half Archie Hughes has been handed his first Scarlets start for Saturday’s EPCR Challenge Cup clash with ASM Clermont Auvergne (13:00 Viaplay).

The 20-year-old Tenby product gets the nod as one of three personnel changes to the side beaten by the Dragons on New Year’s Day.

All of Hughes’s 12 previous appearances for the Scarlets have come off the bench, but at the Stade Marcel-Michelin he will run out with the No. 9 jersey on his back.

The backline is otherwise unchanged from Rodney Parade with Ioan Lloyd, Tom Rogers and Steff Evans making up the back three and Joe Roberts and Johnny Williams combining in midfield.

Sam Costelow is again named at fly-half and will make his 50th Scarlets appearance.

Up front Kemsley Mathias, Ryan Elias and Sam Wainwright again pack down in the front row, while Jac Price comes in to partner Alex Craig at lock.

Dan Davis has recovered from an ankle injury and starts at openside flanker so skipper Josh Macleod switches to blindside. Vaea Fifita is again selected at No. 8.

Head coach Dwayne Peel has opted for a six-two split on the bench. Shaun Evans, who can cover hooker and back-row is another who will make his 50th Scarlets appearance if he comes on.

Peel said: “When you go to Clermont it is always a big occasion, it is about going there with belief that we can do a job and belief we can compete. Their record speaks for itself at home, they have been one of the powerhouses of European rugby so we know how tough it is going to be. It is a great place to go and express ourselves and that has been the message this week, I want the guys to go there with belief and a desire to play.”

Scarlets team to play ASM Clermont Auvergne at Stade Marcel-Michelin on Saturday, January 13 (13:00 UK time)

15 Ioan Lloyd; 14 Tom Rogers, 13 Joe Roberts, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Steff Evans; 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Archie Hughes; 1 Kemsley Mathias, 2 Ryan Elias, 3 Sam Wainwright, 4 Alex Craig, 5 Jac Price, 6 Josh Macleod (capt), 7 Dan Davis, 8 Vaea Fifita.

Reps: 16 Eduan Swart, 17 Steff Thomas, 18 Harri O’Connor, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Ben Williams, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Ioan Nicholas, 23 Shaun Evans.

Players unavailable because of injury

Sam Lousi, Wyn Jones, Teddy Leatherbarrow, Eddie James, Carwyn Tuipulotu, Johnny McNicholl, Taine Plumtree, Ken Owens, Dan Jones, Iwan Shenton, Isaac Young.