Steff Hughes returns to skipper Scarlets at Thomond Park

Rob Lloyd News

Centre Steffan Hughes returns to lead the Scarlets for their Guinness PRO14 match against Munster at Thomond Park on Saturday (5pm).

Hughes missed the bonus-point win over Southern Kings because of a shoulder injury, but has fully recovered and is back in a starting line-up showing five personnel changes from the team that took the field on Sunday.

Behind the scrum, the back-three combination of Angus O’Brien, Corey Baldwin and Steff Evans remains the same.

Hughes comes in to partner Paul Asquith in midfield. Kieron Fonotia has suffered a recurrence of a calf issue and is set for a spell on the sidelines.

Scrum-half Kieran Hardy picked up a hamstring injury against the Kings and is not expected to return until April so the experienced Jonathan Evans is handed his first start of the season with Dane Blacker providing cover from the bench.

Up front, Phil Price, Taylor Davies and Werner Kruger continue in the front row, while Sam Lousi and Lewis Rawlins make up a new-look second-row pairing.

Wales international Aaron Shingler has recovered from illness and slots into the back row alongside Josh Macleod and Uzair Cassiem.

Head coach Brad Mooar has gone for a six-two split among the replacements with on-loan Ifan Phillips, Dylan Evans, Javan Sebastian, Tevita Ratuva, Steve Cummins and Dan Davis covering the forwards and Blacker and Ryan Conbeer the backs.

Scarlets sit third in the Conference B standings, three points behind Munster.

Scarlets backs coach Dai Flanagan said: “It is going to be tough. It is a home game for Munster and they are pretty decent at home, their record speaks for itself.

“We know what we need to do and it’s important we execute the plan we are putting in place. It is about us being us, we have to take the way we play to Thomond Park and I am sure we will give them a challenge

“Thomond Park is one of the toughest places to play, but it is also one of the most inspiring places to play; the crowd are excellent and you also have the history that comes with the ground. I am sure our boys will be up for it. It is Munster away and there is no reason not to be.”

Scarlets (v Munster; Thomond Park, Saturday, February 29; 5pm kick-off)

15‌ ‌Angus‌ ‌O’Brien;‌ ‌14‌ ‌Corey‌ ‌Baldwin‌ ‌13‌ ‌Paul Asquith ‌12‌ ‌Steff Hughes (capt) ‌11‌ ‌Steff‌ ‌Evans;‌ ‌10‌ ‌Dan‌ ‌Jones‌ ‌9‌ ‌Jonathan Evans;‌ ‌1.‌ ‌Phil‌ ‌Price‌ ‌2‌ ‌Taylor‌ ‌Davies‌ ‌3‌ ‌Werner‌ ‌Kruger‌ 4‌ Lewis Rawlins ‌5‌ ‌Sam‌ ‌Lousi‌ ‌6‌ ‌Aaron‌ ‌Shingler‌ ‌7‌ ‌Josh‌ ‌Macleod‌ ‌8‌ ‌Uzair‌ ‌Cassiem.‌ ‌

Reps:‌ ‌16‌ ‌Ifan‌ ‌Phillips‌ ‌17‌ ‌Dylan‌ ‌Evans‌ ‌18‌ ‌Javan‌ ‌Sebastian‌ 19 Tevita Ratuva 20 ‌Steve‌ ‌Cummins‌ ‌21 ‌Dan‌ ‌Davis‌ ‌ 22 ‌Dane‌ ‌Blacker‌ ‌23 ‌Ryan‌ ‌Conbeer‌

Unavailable‌ ‌due‌ ‌to‌ ‌injury‌ ‌

Jonathan‌ ‌Davies‌ ‌(knee),‌ ‌Rhys‌ ‌Patchell‌ ‌(shoulder),‌ ‌James‌ ‌Davies‌ ‌(back/hip),‌ ‌Daf‌ ‌Hughes‌ ‌(knee),‌ ‌Blade‌ ‌Thomson‌ ‌(concussion),‌ ‌Samson‌ ‌Lee‌ ‌(calf),‌ ‌Marc‌ ‌Jones‌ ‌(calf),‌ ‌Kieran Hardy (hamstring), Kieron Fonotia (calf), Tom Prydie (ankle), Steffan‌ ‌Thomas‌ ‌(knee),‌ ‌Joe‌ ‌Roberts‌ ‌(knee).‌