Sione to lead side against Edinburgh

Rob LloydFeatured

Sione Kalamafoni will captain the Scarlets for the first time in Saturday’s BKT United Rugby Championship clash with Edinburgh at Parc y Scarlets (17:15, Viaplay).

Kalamafoni takes over the armband from Aaron Shingler, who is ruled out with a back issue.

Scarlets make two personnel changes and one positional switch from their last match against the Vodacom Bulls.

The back division remains unchanged with Johnny McNicholl, Steff Evans and Ryan Conbeer in the back three, Ioan Nicholas and Joe Roberts in midfield and Sam Costelow and Gareth Davies linking up at half-back.

There is one change in the front row with hooker Shaun Evans coming in for Daf Hughes, who is ruled out with a neck injury. Sam Wainwright again gets the nod at tight-head prop.

Morgan Jones is named at lock alongside Sam Lousi, while Vaea Fifita starts at blindside flanker alongside Dan Davis and Kalamafoni in the back row.

On the bench, Scotland Six Nations squad member Javan Sebastian comes into the squad along with 20-year-old back-rower Ben Williams, who is in line to make his Scarlets debut. Centre Eddie James could also make his first URC appearance if he takes the field.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “The boys are excited about playing again. It is a big game and an important game for us. Edinburgh are a side who like to play football, we are fully respectful of them, but for us it is about focusing on ourselves and maintaining momentum. We have to make sure that areas of our game improve and we know we have to be at our best on Saturday.”

Scarlets team to play Edinburgh at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday, February 18 (17:15 Viaplay)

15 Johnny McNicholl; 14 Steff Evans, 13 Joe Roberts, 12 Ioan Nicholas, 11 Ryan Conbeer; 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Kemsley Mathias, 2 Shaun Evans, 3 Sam Wainwright, 4 Morgan Jones, 5 Sam Lousi, 6 Vaea Fifita, 7 Dan Davis, 8 Sione Kalamafoni (capt).

Replacements: 16 Taylor Davies, 17 Steff Thomas, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Ben Williams, 20 Carwyn Tuipulotu, 21 Dane Blacker, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Eddie James.

Unavailable because of injury

Daf Hughes, Aaron Shingler, Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams, Ryan Elias, Josh Macleod, Tom Rogers, Corey Baldwin, Alex Jeffries, Johnny Williams, Callum Williams, Iestyn Rees, Samson Lee.

Unavailable because of international duty

Ken Owens, Wyn Jones, Rhys Patchell, Leigh Halfpenny, Kieran Hardy.