Halfpenny returns to face Clermont

Rob LloydFeatured

Wales and British & Irish Lions full-back Leigh Halfpenny returns to the Scarlets starting XV as the lone change for Friday’s EPCR Challenge Cup quarter-final against ASM Clermont Auvergne at Parc y Scarlets (20:00 S4C & BT Sport).

Halfpenny, part of Wales’s 2023 Six Nations squad, replaces Tom Rogers at full-back, while the only other change to the match-day squad is on the bench with Dan Jones coming in for Rhys Patchell.

With consistency in selection key to Scarlets’ recent run of form, head coach Dwayne Peel has largely kept faith with the 23 that saw off Brive last weekend in the Round of 16.

Halfpenny, Steff Evans and Ryan Conbeer make up the back three, Joe Roberts and Johnny Williams continue at centre, while Sam Costelow has overcome a dead leg that ended his game against Brive to take his place alongside Gareth Davies at half-back.

Up front, it’s as you were, with Kemsley Mathias, Wales captain Ken Owens and Scotland international Javan Sebastian in the front row, Tonga duo Vaea Fifita and Sam Lousi at lock and Aaron Shingler, skipper Josh Macleod and the experienced Sione Kalamafoni in the back row.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “It will be a great occasion. Clermont have a massive history in European rugby and have some quality, star names. That is what it is all about, a big team, a big crowd, it is a challenge we are all excited about.”

Scarlets team to play ASM Clermont Auvergne at Parc y Scarlets on Friday, April 7 (20:00 S4C)

15 Leigh Halfpenny; 14 Steff Evans, 13 Joe Roberts, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Ryan Conbeer; 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Kemsley Mathias, 2 Ken Owens, 3 Javan Sebastian, 4 Vaea Fifita, 5 Sam Lousi, 6 Aaron Shingler, 7 Josh Macleod (capt), 8 Sione Kalamafoni.

Replacements: 16 Shaun Evans, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Sam Wainwright, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Carwyn Tuipulotu, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Ioan Nicholas.

Unavailable because of injury

Dan Davis, Johnny McNicholl, Tom Price, Jac Price, Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams, Ryan Elias, Corey Baldwin, Alex Jeffries, Callum Williams, Samson Lee.

Tickets are still available online at tickets.scarlets.wales or by ringing the Parc y Scarlets ticket office on 01554 292939