Preview: Scarlets v Edinburgh

Date published: October 6 2011

Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley has made just one change to the side that upset Munster for Friday's clash away to with Scarlets.

Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley has made just one change to the side that upset champions Munster last week for Friday's clash away to with Scarlets.

Prop Shaun Knight, who is on loan from Gloucester, comes into the front-row as a straight swap for Lewis Niven, who begins the match on the bench.

Two other changes have been made to the bench with Robin Hilsop and Hamish Watson supplanted by Jack Gilding as a front-row replacement and the experience back-row Alan MacDonald, who returns to the fold for the first time since May, having completed his return from injury with a run-out for Heriot's last weekend.

“Beating Munster was great and the manner in which we played was very rewarding, keeping the pace of the game up and producing two fantastic tries,” said Bradley.

“We also defended exceptionally well and showed a lot of physicality in attack which gave us space going forward; something we've been bringing into our game and is a key element of our plans going forward.

“It's very important that we continue that form and that approach away against Scarlets this weekend.”

Edinburgh travel to Llanelli in search of their first win on the road this season, while their hosts seek to bring a close to a four match losing streak.

“Scarlets are somewhat hamstrung by their commitment to Wales, with the majority of their backline in New Zealand, so it's a good opportunity for us to perform well and go for an away win which would be very important to us and our season,” added Bradley.

Meanwhile, with a number of players picking up injuries in the past few weeks, Scarlets had a series of late fitness tests on Thursday.

Making the race back from injury to the field are Andy Fenby on the wing, Dan Evans at full-back as well as Dominic Day and Aaron Shingler in the second row.

Fly-halfAled Thomas has retained his place at number 10 after a strong performance against Treviso last weekend. Having impressed at training so far this season the talented 19-year-old Rhodri Williams gets his first start at scrum-half whilst Rhodri Gomer Davies returns following an illness last week.

Those unavailable for selection include current skipper Iestyn Thomas, prop (calf strain), Nick Reynolds, wing/centre (ankle), Lou Reed, second row (knee), Josh Turnbull, back row (shoulder).

The region has been boosted by the news that Wales and Scarlets captain Matthew Rees has returned to his first week of training and conditioning after his recent neck operation and is making excellent progress. He is expected to return to action at the end of this month.
Returning internationals from World Cup Duty for the Scarlets will include Fiji captain Deacon Manu (Prop), Scottish flyer Sean Lamont (wing/centre) and new signing Tongan second row giant Sione Timani. Manu has picked up a shoulder knock so will not return for a fortnight with Sean Lamont being rest for another week. T

“We've had a short turnaround for this game, it's been a very focused week for us and despite the squad being stretched with injuries and bumps,” said Scarlets Defence Coach Simon Easterby.

“We know that we've got to improve our position in the league, but there's been no dent in confidence here, its been more about getting the best out of our performance and if we get that right the results will come.”

Form: Scarlets have slipped to four straight defeats in the RaboDirect PRO12, whilst they have not lost five in a row in the tournament since season 2007/08. The WestWalians have won their last four encounters with Scottish opponents. Edinburgh's last four matches have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Edinburgh's only away win in the tournament since December 2009 came at Aironi, 10-9, on 2 October 2010. Scarlets won both encounters last season, whilst Edinburgh have not won at Parc y Scarlets since 4 December 2009.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Scarlets: 15 Dan Newton, 14 Lee Williams, 13 Rhodri Gomer Davies, 12 Gareth Maule (capt), 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Ben Morgan. 7 Richie Pugh, 6 Rob McCusker, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Aaron Shingler 3 Rhys Thomas, 2 Emyr Phillips, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Peter Edwards, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Johnathan Edwards, 21 Ruki Tipuna, 22 Adam Warren, 23 Liam Williams.

Edinburgh: 15 Jim Thompson, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Matt Scott, 12 James King, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Gregor Hunter, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Stuart McInally, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 David Denton, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Shaun Knight, 2 Steven Lawrie, 1 Kyle Traynor.
Replacements: 16 Alun Walker, 17 Lewis Niven, 18 Jack Gilding, 19 Esteban Lozada, 20 Alan MacDonald, 21 Chris Leck, 22 Phil Godman, 23 Tom Brown.

Date: Friday 7 October
Venue: Parc y Scarlets
Kick-off: 19.05 BST (18.05 GMT)
Referee: Dudley Phillips ((IRFU)