Argentina international Tomas Lezana will make his Scarlets debut in Saturday’s United Rugby Championship round four clash with defending champions Leinster at the RDS Arena in Dublin (17:15 S4C/Premier Sports).
The Pumas back-rower has recovered from the hamstring strain he picked up on Rugby Championship duty and is drafted into a side showing seven personnel changes, as well as two positional switches, from last weekend’s defeat to Munster at Parc y Scarlets.
Ioan Nicholas gets the nod at full-back with Johnny McNicholl – one of 10 Scarlets named in this week’s Wales autumn international squad – shifting to the right wing. Ryan Conbeer replaces Steff Evans on the left.
Skipper Jonathan Davies partners Johnny Williams in midfield with Williams replacing namesake Scott, who hasn’t recovered from the blow to the eye he suffered last Sunday. Sam Costelow and Gareth Davies continue at half-back.
Up front, Wyn Jones joins fellow British & Irish Lions tourist Ken Owens and WillGriff John in a new-look front row.
Sam Lousi has overcome his knee problem to partner Lloyd Ashley at lock so Aaron Shingler moves to blindside flanker and Blade Thomson switches across the back row in place of Sione Kalamafoni, who is going through return-to-play head assessment protocols.
Lezana comes in for Dan Davis, who suffered a pectoral muscle injury against Munster and will need surgery to repair the damage.
On the bench, Rob Evans, Ryan Elias and Samson Lee provide all-international front-row cover; lock Morgan Jones comes into the 23, while Shaun Evans, Kieran Hardy, Dan Jones and Tom Rogers make up the rest of the replacements.
Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “It is the champions at their home and there is no option but to front up. That is driving us on. We have to be disciplined, we have to be on our mark defensively and we have to take our chances. It is a high-end game, you talk about Test level and that is the quality of team we are coming up against. We have to be good in all areas, that is the bottom line.”
Scarlets team v Leinster (RDS Arena; 17:15; S4C/Premier Sports)
15 Ioan Nicholas; 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Jonathan Davies (capt), 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Ryan Conbeer; 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Ken Owens, 3 WillGriff John, 4 Lloyd Ashley, 5 Sam Lousi, 6 Aaron Shingler, 7 Tomas Lezana, 8 Blade Thomson
Reps: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Shaun Evans, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Tom Rogers.
Unavailable because of injury
Liam Williams (appendix), Tom Phillips (knee), Josh Helps (Achilles), Sione Kalamafoni (Concussion), Scott Williams (eye), Josh Macleod (Achilles), Rhys Patchell (calf), James Davies (concussion), Leigh Halfpenny (knee), Corey Baldwin (foot), Tomi Lewis (knee), Tom Prydie (foot), Carwyn Tuipulotu (finger).