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Scarlets welcome back Grand Slam winners for Edinburgh test

SCARLETS welcome back six of Wales’ Grand Slam-winning squad to their starting line-up for Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 meeting with Conference B play-off rivals Edinburgh at Parc y Scarlets (6.45pm).

Skipper Ken Owens, prop Rob Evans, scrum-half Gareth Davies, centres Jonathan Davies and Hadleigh Parkes and wing Steff Evans are recalled in a team showing eight changes from the defeat to Cardiff Blues last time out.

Behind the scrum, Wales’ midfield duo Davies and Parkes are reunited and replace Kieron Fonotia and Paul Asquith.

There is also a change at half-back with Davies and Dan Jones coming in for Kieran Hardy and Rhys Patchell.

Up front, the Scarlets field an all-Wales international front row with Owens and Evans restored to the starting XV after making such an impact off the bench at the Arms Park.

Another replacement in that game, Will Boyde, gets the nod at blindside flanker alongside James Davies and Uzair Cassiem.

With three matches remaining in the regular season, the Scarlets sit fifth in the Conference B table, two points behind Edinburgh.

“We are still very much alive in the play-off race, that is the attitude of this group,” said head coach Wayne Pivac.

“The Cardiff Blues defeat has been put to bed and we are now looking forward to the challenge that Edinburgh will present.

“Edinburgh will pose a threat in the set-piece, where they are strong, they have a good kicking game and players like Bill Mata – who caused us problems earlier in the season – that we have to keep an eye on. They are solid across the park.

“We just need to make sure we are defensively up for this game. Clearly, we weren’t against the Blues and it is something that we have talked about this week.”

Gareth Davies
Pivac added:”If we can get three wins from our final three games, then we will have to see what happens with games involving the other sides battling for a top-three place, but we believe there is still an opportunity to finish third and an opportunity for second.”

SCARLETS: Leigh Halfpenny; Johnny McNicholl, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Steff Evans; Dan Jones, Gareth Davies; Rob Evans, Ken Owens (capt), Samson Lee, Lewis Rawlins, Steve Cummins, Will Boyde, James Davies, Uzair Cassiem.

Replacements: Marc Jones, Wyn Jones, Werner Kruger, Josh Helps, Josh Macleod, Kieran Hardy, Kieron Fonotia, Ioan Nicholas.

Unavailable because of injury

Ryan Elias (shoulder), Jake Ball (foot), Aaron Shingler (knee), Blade Thomson (concussion), Jonathan Evans (ankle), David Bulbring (ankle), Angus O’Brien (knee), Corey Baldwin (ankle), Tom Phillips (shoulder), Dafydd Hughes (shoulder).

Photo: Iwan Lewis

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