Preview: Scarlets v Connacht

Date published: September 23 2016

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Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac has made one change to his side who will take on Connacht at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.

The one change to the side sees Aaron Shingler return to the starting line-up at blindside flanker with Lewis Rawlins moving to the replacements bench. Hooker Ken Owens will lead the side in their second home game of the season looking for a first win and first points of the season, with Connacht in a similar position.

Looking ahead to the game Pivac said: "Given where both sides are heading into this game, with both sides in the top six last season and Connacht of course going on to win the championship, we want to repeat the dose and be there towards the end of the season.

"Having said that, all we're focusing on is the group we've got now and where we need to improve. We don't have too much time to focus too much on what happened last year. For us it's being the best we can be on a given day. It'll be a great contest; you wouldn't to be the team that comes off second. This really is a big game for us.

"It's good to be back at home here at the Parc and the boys are very much looking forward to it. Hopefully there'll be a boisterous crowd here to lift the team and get a decent performance out of it.”

Pat Lam has made six changes to Connacht's starting team.

Irish internationals Matt Healy, Kieran Marmion, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux and Ultan Dillane are all brought in to the side that will run out at Parc y Scarlets. Along with Roux, Jake Heenan makes a welcome return from injury and his first appearance of the season. Dillane starts in the back row for the first time along with Heenan and captain John Muldoon.

Commenting on the team selection and the upcoming game, Lam said: "With more guys coming back from injury, it's pleasing to be able to select a bit more experience in our side. Quinn (Roux) and Jake (Heenan) returning is obviously a boost and it helps drive more competition within the squad.

"Although we have never won at Parc y Scarlets before, we are really excited by the challenge to try and create a small bit of history. While both teams are obviously determined to get points on the table, our focus remains on the quality of our performance."

Form: The Welshmen have lost their last three games at Parc y Scarlets but have never lost four in a row at the venue since moving there in 2008. Connacht’s match at Zebre on Saturday was abandoned at half-time. The defending PRO12 Champions have also yet to record a league point this season. Each side has won its respective home game when the two teams have met in the past two seasons. Scarlets have won their last eleven home games against Connacht, at three different venues, with Connacht’s most recent success on Scarlets soil being at Stradey Park in the PRO12 in October 2004.

The teams:

Scarlets: 15 Aled Thomas, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Wyn Jones
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Luke Garrett, 18 Peter Edwards, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 Morgan Allen, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Scott Williams, 23 Will Boyde

Connacht: 15 Tiernan O'Halloran, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Bundee Aki, 12 Eoin Griffin, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 John Muldoon (c), 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Ultan Dillane, 5 Andrew Browne, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Tom McCartney, Denis Buckley
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 JP Cooney, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Eoin McKeon, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Shane O'Leary, 23 Cian Kelleher

Date: Saturday, September 24
Venue: Parc y Scarlets
Kick-off: 19:35 local (18:35 GMT)
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland) 
Assistant Referees: Keith Allen (Scotland), Leighton Hodges (Wales)

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