Preview: Scarlets v Glasgow Warriors

Date published: November 4 2016

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac has named an unchanged run-on side to take on table toppers Glasgow Warriors at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.

Glasgow Warriors are currently perched atop of the PRO12 table sharing the top spot with Leinster and Ospreys.

The Scarlets moved into the top six for the first time this season after last weekend's win at Cardiff Blues and will be looking to build on the momentum and continue to pick up points whilst the Welsh internationals are in camp.

Speaking ahead of the clash against Glasgow Wayne Pivac said; "They'll be a strong side. They're playing well, at the top of the table. We had two quite differing performances really against them last season. Game in round 1 was a bizarre game where we ended up with 11 against 15 in the last play.

"The boys dug really deep and played really well in that particular performance and held out for a win.

"Conversely out here, we saw our biggest score against us since my time here at home, 15-10 at half time. We got wiped in the second half. It's well documented illnesses that week but it's on our minds, we'd dearly love to go out there and put in a decent solid performance to back up the one on Friday night. 

"No side has been able to pick them apart. They're winning more games than they're losing.

"We've got the utmost respect for them. They've earned that over a number of years, certainly going to be a big test. 

"There's a lot of work going in behind the scenes. It's been very positive this year, yes we did get off to a slow star, but in hindsight it was probably always going to happen with players coming back late but where we are at the moment is that the boys are growing each week with each good performance. 

"They're growing in confidence and you can see that in the way they carry themselves around the building.

"They're in a good space at the moment and a result this weekend would be the icing on the cake however we know they're a very good side. We will have to be on our toes."

Four Warriors have been released from the Scotland squad, including Rob Harley and Peter Horne who will co-captain the side at six and ten respectively.

Lock Tim Swinson and centre Mark Bennett are the others to return from Scotland, as well as scrum-half Ali Price, winger Rory Hughes and centre Nick Grigg who have been training with Vern Cotter’s squad this week.

Peter Murchie starts at full-back and is joined in the back three by Lee Jones and Rory Hughes, the latter looking to build on his man of the match, two-try performance against Treviso last Friday at Scotstoun.

Mark Bennett will form a centre partnership with Sam Johnson, while Ali Price makes his 13th start at scrum-half to complete the back-line.

Up front, Sears-Duru is joined by Pat MacArthur and Sila Puafisi in the front-row with Swinson and Alainu’uese completing the tight five.

Harley is joined in the back-row by Simone Favaro at open-side and Lewis Wynne at number 8, with the Scottish Rugby Academy Stage 3 player showing his versatility by starting in a different back-row position in each of his three competitive starts this season.

On the bench there is a potential debut for BScottish Rugby Academy prop Jamie Bhatti, who is included in a Warriors squad for the first time.

USA international Langilangi Haupeakui retains his place on the bench after his two yellow cards from last week’s game were rescinded.

Hooker Corey Flynn returns after missing the last four games through injury and is named amongst the replacements.

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: "Djustice Sears-Duru and Brian Alainu’uese have an opportunity to start tomorrow, while Jamie Bhatti has spent a lot of time in and around the squad and has been playing regularly for Melrose, so we’re excited to see what he can do in a Warriors shirt if he comes off the bench.

"It’s extremely tight at the top of the Guinness PRO12 and we expect Scarlets to be challenging for a Play-Off place come the end of the season, so we know we’ll need to be at our best for the full eighty minutes to come away with a positive result.

"International windows provide challenges, but we’ve been really impressed with how the players have trained this week. It’s been great to have club players Stafford McDowall and Adam Nicol training with us, along with all of the Scottish Rugby Academy group, with three of them included in the squad tomorrow night."

Form: Scarlets started off their PRO12 campaign with three straight defeats but have now tallied victories in the last four rounds to rise from 10th to sixth place in the table. Scarlets have won their last three fixtures in all competitions at Parc y Scarlets but have not won four in a row at the venue since the start of last season. Glasgow Warriors have won their last three matches in the Guinness PRO12 since their 17-22 home reversal to Ulster on 23 September. The Scotsmen’s solitary defeat on the road in the Championship this season came on a visit to Cardiff Blues in Round 3. The two sides met on four occasions last season in all tournaments with Scarlets only success being 16-10 at Scotstoun in the opening round of PRO12 play. The Scotsmen have won on three of their last four visits to Llanelli. 

The teams:

Scarlets: 15 Aled Thomas, 14 DTH van der Merwe, 13 Steff Hughes, 12 Hadleigh Parkes (c), 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 John Barclay, 7 Will Boyde, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Tom Price, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Wyn Jones 
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Dylan Evans, 18 Peter Edwards, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 James Davies, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Gareth Owen

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Rory Hughes, 10 Peter Horne, 9 Ali Price,8 Lewis Wynne, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Brian Alainu’uese, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Sila Puafisi, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Djustice Sears-Duru
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 D’arcy Rae, 19 Matt Fagerson, 20 Langilangi Haupeakui, 21 Grayson Hart, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Nick Grigg

Date: Saturday, 5 November
Parc y Scarlets
Kick-off: 19:35 GMT
Referee: Gary Conway (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: David Wilkinson (Ireland), Neil Jones (Wales)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)