Preview: Scarlets v Ulster

Date published: December 12 2014

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac has named an unchanged starting XV for their first home game of the 2015/16 PRO12 campaign, against Ulster.

The only change comes on the replacements bench with Rhodri Williams unavailable due to concussion. Last week's man of the match John Barclay has been named captain for Saturday's clash.

"It's very early days, but Ulster certainly they put on a very good performance at home last weekend and on the evidence of that whilst the Rugby World Cup is on they'll still be a very strong side and one of the leaders," said Pivac.

"They are one of the top sides, we played them four times last year and had three real battles and one where they got on top of us at home. We know we're in for a tough day at the office on Saturday."

Saturday's PRO12 clash will be Scarlets' first outing at home this season and a win against champions Glasgow in the opening round last weekend has been a welcome boost for both supporters and players alike.

"The boys love playing at home, every side does. We love getting out here in front of home supporters and familiar surroundings," Pivac added.

Meanwhile, Ulster head coach Neil Doak has made two personnel changes and one positional switch to the team that recorded a bonus-point win over the Ospreys.

Andrew Trimble was unavailable for selection having suffered a hip flexor strain, therefore Craig Gilroy switches flanks and starts on the right wing, with Rory Scholes coming in on the left.

The other change comes in the pack, with Peter Browne starting his first competitive game for Ulster in the second-row in place of Dan Tuohy.

The rest of the starting XV is unchanged with Louis Ludik named at full-back and Luke Marshall paired with Stuart McCloskey in midfield. 

Peter Nelson retains the number ten jersey and starts in the half-backs alongside Paul Marshall who wins his 148th cap for the province. 

The tight five sees a front-row of Andrew Warwick, captain Rob Herring and Wiehahn Herbst, with Franco van der Merwe partnering Browne in the second-row.

Willie Faloon and Roger Wilson star either side of Nick Williams who is selected at number eight.

Callum Black returns from an arm injury to take up a place on the replacements bench. He is joined by fellow forwards John Andrew, Ricky Lutton, Robbie Diack and Clive Ross. Backs, David Shanahan, Sam Arnold and David Busby complete the squad. 

Full-back, Busby, who has represented Ireland U20s and Ulster A, will play his first senior game for the province if called upon.

Form: Scarlets have won their last five Guinness PRO12 fixtures since Edinburgh won at Parc y Scarlets on 28th March. This also represents their only home defeat in the tournament since Boxing Day 2013. Ulster ended a three game winless streak in the Guinness PRO12 with their 28-6 victory over the Ospreys in Belfast on Friday. The Ulstermen have won three of their last six away games in the tournament. Scarlets have won just one of their last eight encounters with Ulster in the PRO12: 17-9 in Llanelli on 2 November 2013. Overall the Ulstermen have a won 2, drawn 2, lost 5 record in all competitions at Parc y Scarlets.

The teams:

Scarlets: 15 Steffan Evans, 14 Hadleigh Parkes, 13 Regan King, 12 Gareth Owen, 11 Michael Tagicakibau, 10 Daniel Jones, 9 Aled Davies, 8 John Barclay (c), 7 James Davies, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Lewis Rawlins, 4 Tom Price, 3 Peter Edwards, 2 Emyr Phillips, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Will Taylor, 19 George Earle, 20 Rory Pitman, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Tom Williams.

Ulster: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Rory Scholes, 10 Peter Nelson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Roger Wilson, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Peter Browne, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Rob Herring (c), 1 Andrew Warwick.
Replacements: 16 John Andrew, 17 Callum Black, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Robbie Diack, 20 Clive Ross, 21 David Shanahan, 22 Sam Arnold, 23 David Busby.

Date: Saturday, September 12
Venue: Parc y Scarlets
Kick-off: 15:00 local (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Andy Brace (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Neil Hennessy (Wales), Justin Williams (Wales)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)