Scarlets name team to take on Brive

Rob LloydNewyddion

Wales captain Ken Owens returns to the Scarlets side for Friday night’s EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16 clash with CA Brive at Parc y Scarlets (20:00; S4C).

The British & Irish Lions hooker is back from Six Nations commitments as the West Walians resume their European quest against Top 14 opposition.

Owens is one of two personnel changes from last weekend’s inspired URC victory over the Cell C Sharks in Llanelli.

The other switch is enforced following a hamstring injury to openside flanker Dan Davis. In a reshuffle of the back row, the experienced Aaron Shingler comes in at blindside with skipper Josh Macleod switching to the No. 7 jersey.

Ten of the starting XV came through the Scarlets pathway, including five of the back division, which remains unchanged from the win over Sharks.

Tom Rogers, Steff Evans – the tournament’s top try-scorer – and Ryan Conbeer make up the back three; Joe Roberts and Johnny Williams continue in midfield, while Sam Costelow and Gareth Davies again link up at half-back.

Up front, Owens takes his place in the front row alongside Kemsley Mathias and Javan Sebastian. Vaea Fifita and Sam Lousi form the lock pairing, while fellow Tongan international Sione Kalamafoni starts at No.8.

The bench sees the return of Wales’ Six Nations squad members Wyn Jones and Rhys Patchell.

Scarlets booked their place in the last 16 thanks to four wins from four  that saw them finish as top seeds in Pool B.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “It is a big occasion, last weekend was a big one with the Sharks and the calibre of team they brought and this is another. Knockout rugby is great, you want to be part of the knockout stages of Europe and the boys are looking forward to it.

“Brive will come here and make it difficult for us. They are going to be very physical, they have excellent line-out defence, one of the best in the Top 14 and they fight hard at the breakdown. The boys are working hard, we have prepped well and are expecting a tough challenge.”

Scarlets team to play CA Brive at Parc y Scarlets on Friday, March 31 (20:00 S4C)

15 Tom Rogers; 14 Steff Evans, 13 Joe Roberts, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Ryan Conbeer; 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Kemsley Mathias, 2 Ken Owens, 3 Javan Sebastian, 4 Vaea Fifita, 5 Sam Lousi, 6 Aaron Shingler, 7 Josh Macleod (capt), 8 Sione Kalamafoni.

Replacements: 16 Shaun Evans, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Sam Wainwright, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Carwyn Tuipulotu, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Ioan Nicholas.

Unavailable because of injury

Dan Davis, Johnny McNicholl, Tom Price, Jac Price, Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams, Ryan Elias, Corey Baldwin, Alex Jeffries, Callum Williams, Samson Lee.