Ryan Elias takes over captaincy for Edinburgh clash

Rob LloydFeatured

Wales hooker Ryan Elias takes over the captaincy for the Scarlets’ EPCR Challenge Cup tie against Edinburgh Rugby at Parc y Scarlets on Friday night (20:00; S4C).

With Josh Macleod sidelined by the knee injury he picked up in Clermont last weekend, Elias is handed the armband to lead a much-changed starting line-up.

Injuries and suspension mean there is a reshuffle of the back division.

Ioan Nicholas, impressive off the bench in France, starts at full-back. Ryan Conbeer comes onto the left wing with Steff Evans switching to the right. Tom Rogers is undergoing his return-to-play protocols after going off late on against Clermont following a knock to the head. 

With Johnny Williams banned following his red card last weekend, Wales and British & Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies is recalled at inside centre to partner Six Nations squad call-up Joe Roberts. Sam Costelow is another going through concussion protocols so Ioan Lloyd reverts to the No. 10 slot. Kieran Hardy gets the nod at scrum-half.

Both props change with Steff Thomas and Harri O’Connor coming in for Kemsley Mathias and Sam Wainwright, who are named on the bench.

The second row pairing of Alex Craig and Jac Price remains the same, but there is a change in the back row with Ben Williams replacing club captain Macleod, who is set to be sidelined for a number of months. Dan Davis has overcome the knock to the hip which forced him off at half-time last weekend, while Vaea Fifita again wears the No. 8 jersey.

On the bench, Gareth Davies returns to the match-day 23, as do Charlie Titcombe and Tomi Lewis.

Head coach Dwayne Peel said: “It has been disappointing to go from last year’s high in Europe to this year’s low. There has been a lot of hard work gone in and we haven’t had the results to show for it. It is important to finish this block of matches on a positive so we can springboard into the matches to come in the second half of the URC.”

Scarlets team to play Edinburgh at Parc y Scarlets on Friday, January 19 (20:00)

15 Ioan Nicholas; 14 Steff Evans, 13 Joe Roberts, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Ryan Conbeer; 10 Ioan Lloyd, 9 Kieran Hardy; 1 Steff Thomas, 2 Ryan Elias (capt), 3 Harri O’Connor, 4 Alex Craig, 5 Jac Price, 6 Ben Williams, 7 Dan Davis, 8 Vaea Fifita.

Reps: 16 Eduan Swart, 17 Kemsley Mathias, 18 Sam Wainwright, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Shaun Evans, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Charlie Titcombe, 23 Tomi Lewis.

Players unavailable because of injury

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