Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac says there’s still everything to play for in the PRO 14 this season, ahead of a crucial clash against the Dragons at Parc Y Scarlets on Saturday.
Ryan Elias is set to make his 100th appearance for Scarlets in the final home derby clash of the season. The Carmarthen-born Academy product comes into the 15 to mark his centenary, after injuries to Will Boyde and James Davies against the Blues see a pack reshuffle.
With Leigh Halfpenny unavailable due to a concussion, Johnny McNicholl moves to full-back, with Paul Asquith and Ioan Nicholas completing the back-three. Kieran Hardy and Dan Jones form the 9/10 partnership with Hadleigh Parkes back in midfield alongside Jonathan Davies.
Following the Dragons upset against the Ospreys last time out, the West Wales region are under no illusions about the tough challenge represented by the Gwent region this weekend.
Commented ahead of the derby clash, head coach Wayne Pivac said; “We haven’t been too far off. We had 68% possession and 65% territory against the Blues so we did some good things. It’s more about the things that we can do to make sure we convert that pressure and time in the opposition’s 22 into points. The focus for us this week has been on our pass accuracy and the separation between our ball carriers and runners. There were some positives out there and we’re focusing on that and tightening up in other areas.
“Results are going all over the shop and we’re still one point off the play-offs. Other results have meant there’s everything to play for. We believe that by the end of the season if we can get our top side on the pitch then we’ll compete in this competition. We’ve got to accumulate enough points between now and then. This game against the Dragons on the weekend becomes vital in that quest. We believe we’ll turn it round and the boys are working very hard and haven’t lost sight of the end goal.”
Scarlets team to take on Dragons at Parc y Scarlets, Saturday 5th January, kick-off 17:15;
15 Johnny McNicholl , 14 Ioan Nicholas, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Paul Asquith, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Kieran Hardy, 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ryan Elias, 3 Samson Lee, 4 Josh Helps, 5 David Bulbring, 6 Ed Kennedy, 7 Dan Davies, 8 Ken Owens ©
Replacements; 16 Marc Jones, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Tom Price, 20 Tom Phillips, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Steff Hughes, 23 Tom Prydie
James Davies- foot, Leigh Halfpenny- concussion, Will Boyde- ribs, Rhys Patchell – hamstring, Jake Ball – shoulder, Lewis Rawlins – shoulder, Steve Cummins – shoulder, Uzair Cassiem – shoulder, Blade Thomson – concussion, Josh Macleod – foot, Angus O’Brien – knee, Aaron Shingler – knee