Scarlets welcome back Wales internationals to face Lions

Rob LloydNews

Wales caps Tom Rogers, Ryan Elias and Taine Plumtree return to the Scarlets starting XV for Saturday’s BKT United Rugby Championship round four encounter with Emirates Lions at Parc y Scarlets (17:15 S4C).

Tight-head prop Harri O’Connor, who came off the bench against the Barbarians last weekend, is also recalled to the side, while scrum-half Kieran Hardy is named among the replacements.

Head coach Dwayne Peel has made five personnel changes to the run-on team as the Scarlets look to build on last weekend’s bonus-point victory over Cardiff.

Rogers joins the experienced Johnny McNicholl and Steff Evans in the back three.

Joe Roberts and Eddie James while Ioan Lloyd links up with skipper Gareth Davies, who produced an outstanding player-of-the-match display against Cardiff.

In the pack, Wales’ World Cup hooker Elias has recovered from injury to make his first appearance of the season alongside Kemsley Mathias and O’Connor.

Vaea Fifita shifts from No. 8 to second row to partner Alex Craig at lock and there is a reshuffle in the back row with Plumtree starting at blindside and Carwyn Tuipulotu coming in at No. 8. Teddy Leatherbarrow gets another run in the No. 7 jersey.

Hardy, who crossed for a try double at the Principality Stadium last Saturday, comes onto the bench to provide scrum-half cover. Second row Morgan Jones has passed his HIA and is also named.

Peel said: “It was important to win at home last weekend after a tough trip to South Africa. It is going to be another tough challenge for us, the Lions are a physical team who beat us in Johannesburg last year, it is important we put in another big performance and build some momentum. The boys have trained well this week and we’re looking forward to playing at home in front of our fans again.”

Scarlets team to play Emirates Lions Rugby at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday, November 11 (17:15)

15 Johnny McNicholl; 14 Tom Rogers, 13 Joe Roberts, 12 Eddie James, 11 Steff Evans; 10 Ioan Lloyd, 9 Gareth Davies (capt); 1 Kemsley Mathias, 2 Ryan Elias, 3 Harri O’Connor, 4 Alex Craig, 5 Vaea Fifita, 6 Taine Plumtree, 7 Teddy Leatherbarrow, 8 Carwyn Tuipulotu.

Reps: 16 Shaun Evans, 17 Steff Thomas, 18 Wyn Jones, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Ben Williams, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Charlie Titcombe, 23 Ioan NIcholas..

Players unavailable

Josh Macleod, Sam Lousi, Dan Davis, Ken Owens, Samson Lee, Dan Jones, Sam Costelow, Johnny Williams.