Preview: Scarlets v Edinburgh

Date published: March 27 2015

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Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac has named a strong starting XV for Saturday's clash with Edinburgh  at Parc y Scarlets.
 
Hooker Ken Owens will captain the side as the Scarlets look to hold on to their undefeated home record in the PRO12, having not lost at home since December 2013.
 
Scarlets' Six Nations contingent will all make a return to the regional side on Saturday apart from Samson Lee, who is out with a long term injury to his Achilles, and full-back Liam Williams has failed to make the grade at a late fitness test missing out on the all-important clash with a thigh haemotoma.
 
His namesake Jordan will fill the mantle at the back with Harry Robinson and Hadleigh Parkes making up the back-three.

Scott Williams returns to partner Regan King in the centre with Pivac repaying Steven Shingler and Aled Davies with their starting berths after solid performances for the region throughout the Six Nations campaign.
 
Wales hooker Owens is joined in the front row by Scarlets' newest international, loosehead prop Rob Evans, and tighthead prop Peter Edwards.

Jake Ball returns from international duty to partner George Earle in the second row with Lewis Rawlins joining James Davies and John Barclay in the backrow.
 
Amongst the replacements, hooker Emyr Phillips makes a return to action, for the first time since injuring his shoulder in the festive derby against the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium, along with international halfback pairing Rhys Priestland and Gareth Davies.
 
Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac said: "We're under no illusion that we need to win this weekend, it's an old cliché but we really are taking it week by week but we have to.
 
"If we can get across the line on Saturday we may have some breathing space on Edinburgh. Clearly we want to win every game. On our recent form you'd say we've got some tough games coming up because we're playing away from home.”

Meanwhile, Edinburgh welcome back returning internationals Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (scrum-half), David Denton (back-row), Greig Tonks (fly-half) and Tim Visser (wing), who took part in the final Six Nations' outing against Ireland, and Hamish Watson and Ben Toolis, who made their debuts earlier in the Championship.

Hooker Ross Ford and prop Alasdair Dickinson, having been at the forefront of the campaign, are being rested this week.
 
Retaining his place at full-back, from the previous round's win over Treviso, is Jack Cuthbert, while Tom Brown comes in for Dougie Fife on the right wing, with Fife carrying a nose injury after his international activity.
 
Phil Burleigh is at outside centre, in place of Matt Scott, whose shoulder hasn't sufficiently recovered following his outings in the Six Nations. Andries Strauss and Tim Visser are retained at inside centre and left wing respectively while Tonks and Hidalgo-Clyne again form the half-back partnership.
 
The pack is unchanged since the Italian outing, with Rory Sutherland at loosehead and Stuart McInally at hooker – both of whom were included in the extended Six Nations squad – WP Nel at tighthead, Anton Bresler and Ben Toolis forming the second row, captain Mike Coman at blindside, Hamish Watson at openside and Denton at number eight.

With just one point separating the two sides – lying in seventh and eighth positions in the PRO12 table at the moment – Saturday's match is vital in the race for a top six place.
 
Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons said: "The Scarlets are unbeaten at home during this season and will be at full strength with all their Welsh internationals returning on a high.
 
"We all appreciate the importance of this match and are looking forward to the challenges it presents.”

Form: Scarlets' only defeat in their last four PRO12 fixtures was 20-25 to Ulster in Belfast in Round 16. The Welshmen are unbeaten at Parc y Scarlets in the competition in their last 13 matches since Boxing Day 2013 – a run that includes two draws. Edinburgh, despite lying in eighth place in the PRO12 table, are actually the best team on current form, having accumulated 19 league points from their last six matches. The Scotsmen have won just once in their last nine visits to Wales, 23-19 at the Dragons on 3 April 2014. Edinburgh’s only victory in their last nine encounters with Scarlets was 26-23 at Murrayfield in March 2012, although the two sides did play out a 20-all draw at the same venue in September.  

Scarlets: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Regan King, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Hadleigh Parkes, 10 Steven Shingler, 9 Aled Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Lewis Rawlins, 5 George Earle, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Peter Edwards, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Phil John, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Jack Payne, 20 Rory Pitman, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Michael Tagicakibau

Edinburgh: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Tom Brown, 13 Phil Burleigh, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Greig Tonks, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 David Denton, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Mike Coman (c), 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 WP Nel, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Rory Sutherland.
Replacements: 16 Neil Cochrane, 17 Grant Shiells, 18 John Andress, 19 Fraser McKenzie, 20 Roddy Grant, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Sam Beard.

Date: Saturday, 28 March
Venue: Parc Y Scarlets, Llanelli
Kick-off: 14:40
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Chris Williams (Wales), Martyn Lewis (Wales)
Television match official: Derek Bevan (Wales)

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