Scarlets v Zebre - the big game guide

12 Apr 2019
Scarlets v Zebre - the big game guide
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The Scarlets take on Zebre in their final home match of the Guinness PRO14 season on Saturday.

Wayne Pivac’s side currently sit fifth in the Conference B standings and with only two matches remaining, are targeting a full house of 10 points.

Here’s our guide to the visit of the Italians.

Kick-off: 5.15pm Parc y Scarlets

Teams

Scarlets: Leigh Halfpenny, Johnny McNicholl, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Ioan Nicholas; Dan Jones, Gareth Davies; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens (capt), Samson Lee, Lewis Rawlins, Steve Cummins, Will Boyde, Josh Macleod, Uzair Cassiem.

Reps: Marc Jones, Phil Price, Werner Kruger, Josh Helps, Ed Kennedy, Kieran Hardy, Rhys Patchell, Kieron Fonotia.

Zebre: Edoardo Padovani; Gabriele Di Giulio, Giulio Bisegni, Nicolas De Battista, Paula Balekana; Maicol Azzolini, Guglielmo Palazzani; Daniele Rimpelli, Oliviero Fabiani, Marco Ciccioli, Samuele Ortis, George Biagi (capt), Maxime Mbandà, James Brown, Renato Giammarioli.

Replacements: Massimo Ceciliani, Danilo Fischetti, Fillipo Alongi, Leonard Krumov, Apisai Tauyavuca, Joshua Renton, Mattia Bellini, James Elliott.

Referee: Keith Allen (SRU)

AR1: Dan Jones (WRU)

AR2: Graeme Oriston (SRU)

TMO: Neil Patterson (SRU)

What’s at stake?

Last weekend’s defeat to Edinburgh, means qualification for the play-offs is now out of the Scarlets hands, but two wins and a few favours from other sides could still see Wayne Pivac’s men reach the end-of-season shootout for a third successive year. Defeats for Benetton and Edinburgh last night have suddenly made things a lot more interesting.

The Scarlets also have their sights on fourth spot, which will see them go into a qualification play-off against the fourth-placed side in Conference A to decide who plays in next season’s European Champions Cup.

For that to happen they need Edinburgh (away v Glasgow) or Benetton (away v Zebre) to lose next weekend and Scarlets to pick up two wins.

Head to head

The Scarlets have played Zebre (and Aironi in their previous guise) 11 times since the Italians’ entry into the competition.

The Welsh side have won 10 of the matches with one game drawn, 16-16 in Parma in 2013.

The Scarlets’ biggest win was 42-7 in Llanelli two years ago.

 

Form guide

Scarlets go into the match having won two and lost four of their last six PRO14 matches. Last weekend’s loss was only their second defeat at home in the PRO14 since the opening game of the 2016-17 title-winning season.

Zebre have three wins to their name this season and currently prop up Conference A. They haven’t tasted victory since a 34-16 win over Edinburgh on October 26 and their narrow 6-5 loss to Connacht last Saturday was their 12th successive setback in the competition.

 

What’s been said?

“Mathematically, we can still qualify for the play-offs, although realistically it is probably fourth spot we are aiming for now which will give us a chance to qualify again for the top tier of European rugby.

“Our focus is on 10 points from our last two games, it is as simple as that.

“This is our final home game of the season and we want to deliver an 80-minute performance we can all be proud of.

“We want to finish with a bang.”

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac