Preview: Scarlets v London Irish

Date published: January 30 2015

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Scarlets welcome back Ken Owens to the fray for this Saturday’s LV= Cup clash against London Irish at Parc y Scarlets.

The Carmarthen-born hooker makes a return from injury that has kept him sidelined since September.

Owens’ return is a welcome boost to the Scarlets pack, which has seen six front row players fall to injury in the last few months. Returning alongside Owens is veteran loosehead prop Phil John who has recovered from knee surgery.

With a number of senior players rested ahead of the forthcoming Pro12 fixture against Connacht a number of the region’s bright young things in Lewis Rawlins, Phil Day and Will Boyde have an opportunity to make their mark with Rory Pitman returning to the number eight berth.

Former Exile Steven Shingler makes only his second start of the season at fly-half and will be partnered at half-back by Rhodri Williams.

Scarlets’ new signing, Australian U20s and Welsh-qualified Jack Payne will take his place on the replacements bench and will be hoping to make his regional debut for the Scarlets this Saturday at Parc y Scarlets.

The 6ft 5in 18st back-row, who can also play lock, featured for the Wallabies age grade at the 2014 Junior Rugby World Championship.

Meanwhile, London Irish head coach Glenn Delaney has gone for an experienced starting line-up.

Johnny Harris makes his first appearance since returning from injury to start on the loosehead alongside Jimmy Stevens and Leo Halavatau in the front row.

Nic Rouse captains the side from the second row alongside Sean Cox with a back row of Kieran Low, Conor Gilsenan and Daniel Leo at number eight.

Darren Allinson and Myles Dorrian start in the half-backs with Eoin Griffin and Tom Fowlie in the centres. The back three consists on Andrew Fenby and James Short on the wings and Tom Homer at full-back.

Senior Academy player Ollie Curry and London Irish U18 Academy captain Theo Brophy-Clewes of Abbingdon School have been named on the bench along with Mike Mayhew, Halani Aulika, Richard Palframan, David Lyons, Tom

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