Gareth Davies returns to skipper Scarlets against Black Lion

Rob Lloyd News

Wales international Gareth Davies is one of five changes to the Scarlets side for Friday night’s EPCR Challenge Cup round two clash with Georgian side Black Lion at Parc y Scarlets (20:00 S4C).

Davies takes over the captain’s armband for the crucial Pool 3 tie having sat out last weekend’s loss out in France to Castres Olympique.

Behind the scrum, the back three of Tom Rogers, Steff Evans and Ryan Conbeer remains the same. In midfield, Eddie James has come through his return-to-play protocols and partners Johnny Williams, while Davies links up with Ioan Lloyd at half-back.

There are three changes to the pack.

Shaun Evans comes in at hooker to replace Ryan Elias and packs down in between Steff Thomas and Joe Jones.

Alex Craig has recovered from injury to reunite with Jac Price in the second row, while Tongan international Vaea Fifita is back at No. 8, coming in for the injured Carwyn Tuipulotu. Ben Williams and Teddy Leatherbarrow make up the rest of the back row.

On the bench, new signing Eduan Swart is named in the squad for the first time. Second row Ed Scragg is also set for his competitive home debut.

Head coach Dwayne Peel said: “Black Lion had 10 Georgian internationals in the squad last week and we saw how tough Wales found it against Georgia at the World Cup so it is going to be a big challenge. They are going to be physical and they take pride in their defence, we are going to have to work hard and need to move the ball around and keep them guessing.”

Scarlets team to play Black Lion at Parc y Scarlets on Friday, December 15 (20:00; S4C)

15 Tom Rogers; 14 Steff Evans, 13 Johnny Williams, 12 Eddie James, 11 Ryan Conbeer; 10 Ioan Lloyd, 9 Gareth Davies (capt); 1 Steff Thomas, 2 Shaun Evans, 3 Joe Jones, 4 Alex Craig, 5 Jac Price, 6 Ben Williams, 7 Teddy Leatherbarrow, 8 Vaea Fifita.

Reps: 16 Eduan Swart, 17 Sam O’Connor, 18 Harri O’Connor, 19 Ed Scragg, 20 Morgan Jones, 21 Archie Hughes, 22 Charlie Titcombe, 23 Ioan Nicholas.

Players unavailable because of injury

Carwyn Tuipulotu, Wyn Jones, Dan Davis, Johnny McNicholl, Iwan Shenton, Joe Roberts, Kemsley Mathias, Taine Plumtree, Josh Macleod, Sam Lousi, Ken Owens, Samson Lee, Dan Jones, Sam Costelow, Isaac Young.