Rhys Priestland is only fit enough for Scarlets bench duty as the Welsh region ready themselves for a quarter-final clash in Brive.
Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland is only fit enough for Scarlets bench duty as the Welsh region ready themselves for a quarter-final clash away to Brive.
They will be hoping to replicate their decent form against French clubs after securing a win double over Castres in their recent Heineken Cup effort.
It's a second quarter-final in the Amlin Challenge Cup for the Scarlets – their last against another Top 14 side, Toulon in April 2010 with the French club taking the spoils and semi-final place at their home stadium. The Scarlets are the only Welsh side to have beaten Brive at their home. But the strong French club has an enviable home record with a big result last week to beat Toulon and the Scarlets know they face a side full of confidence.
“This is a massive game for us and the boys are looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity of showing their potential at a European quarter-final,” said Head of Rugby, Nigel Davies.
“It's not daunting but it's a huge challenge – and one we look forward to as players and coaches because it's all about going to the best clubs and pitting yourself against the best teams in Europe.
“We've had a reasonably successful season to this point, but we have to cap it off by achieving something notable – and the chance that the European Cup competition brings us is a way to prove that our season has truly been a success.
“We know Brive are a very good team, we've had a good look at them the last few weeks and we will have to be right on top of our game and bring a physicality to match them. We were very disappointed with our first half performance against Edinburgh and there's been a lot of frustration about that – but we look to put it right. We know we'll have to be at our best to get a result and I am sure the boys will perform to their full potential.
“We can take a lot out of winning in France, and many of the players will have gained a lot of experience and confidence from winning in Castres this season. We also know what to expect from the French sides and that means we have to be on our game for 80 minutes – you can't switch off and have to maintain 100 per cent focus.
“Any lapses in our concentration and quality of our execution will be punished by the French teams and our set piece particularly in the scrum will have to be very strong.
“We know we can stay in games without the ball, we've shown that this season and we have the real quality on the field that can take their opportunities as well.”
Meanwhile, Brive name former London Irish fly-half Shane Geraghty in their side for Sunday. Virgile Lacombe captains the side from hooker alongside former Wasps prop Pat Barnard.
Brive: 15 Mathias Atayi, 14 Jacques Boussuge, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Riaan Swanepoel, 11 Sevania Galala, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Jean-Baptiste Pejoine, 8 Petrus Hauman, 7 Alexandre Bias, 6 Vincent Forgues, 5 Olivier Caisso, 4 Julien Le Devedec, 3 Pat Barnard, 2 Virgile Lacombe (capt), 1 Jefferson Poirot.
Replacements: 16 Iuri Natriashvili, 17 Davit Khinchagishvili, 18 Alexandre Barozzi, 19 Retief Uys, 20 Poutasi Luafutu, 21 Augustin Figuerola, 22 Scott Spedding, 23 Arnaud Mignardi.
Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Andrew Fenby, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Jon Edwards, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Sione Timani, 3 Deacon Manu, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Rhodri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Phil John, 18 Peter Edwards, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Kieran Murphy, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Sean Lamont.
Date: Sunday, April 8
Venue: Stadium Municipal
Kick-off: 20:15 (19:15 BST)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Greg Garner (England), Paul Dix (England)