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Preview: Scarlets v Dragons

04th October 2012 10:32

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Scott Williams scarlets

Back in: Scott Williams

Scarlets have given Jonathan Davies a rest for this week's clash with the Dragons and replaced him at centre with fellow Wales back Scott Williams.

Davies is given some time off the field ahead of the Heineken Cup following significant minutes for his region in the opening weeks of the PRO12.

Therefore Williams comes in alongside Gareth Maule while other changes see George North returning on the wing after a rest last week, with Aled Thomas getting his opportunity to start at fly-half, with Rhys Priestland named on the bench.

"There's plenty in this game for supporters, players and coaches alike; of course I have an understanding of how the Dragons are likely to approach this game and vice-versa they will know how I'll be preparing the Scarlets boys," said forwards coach Danny Wilson ahead of the game.

"We will need a big chunk of attitude on Friday night, we've been working hard this week on our game and know we have to really turn up and perform as there will be some real threats across the field from the Dragons who will be confident after their win against Edinburgh.

"It's a home game and our passionate and loyal support deserve us to deliver this time - the players were hurting after the Ospreys so I know they'll want to make amends on Friday."

Meanwhile, Dragons captain Lewis Evans will make the switch to blindside flanker this week, as new recruit Nic Cudd makes his debut at openside against his former team.

The Men of Gwent, who are travelling west for their away match, have no other changes from the successful team who faced Edinburgh in the RaboDirect PRO12 last week.

Form: Scarlets made a great start to the RaboDirect PRO12 season, winning their first three games, however they have now tripped up to successive losses, at home to Ospreys and away at Treviso. Scarlets have not lost consecutive home games at Parc y Scarlets in the tournament since December 2009. Dragons got back to winning ways following three successive defeats in overcoming Edinburgh 32-12 at Rodney Parade on Friday. Dragons have lost their last three away games and have beaten a fellow Welsh region just once on their own turf since 2007: 21-16 over Ospreys at Liberty Stadium on 30 October 2010. Scarlets have won their last eight fixtures with the Men from Gwent in the tournament since Dragons won 15-13 at Rodney Parade on New Year's Day 2008. Dragons only previous win on Scarlets soil in the competition came at the old Stradey Park on 1 September 2007.

The teams:

Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Rob McCusker (capt), 7 Josh Turnbull, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 Sione Timani, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Shaun Hopkins, 18 Deacon Manu, 19 Richard Kelly, 20 Kieran Murphy, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Morgan Stoddart.

Dragons: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Adam Hughes, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Andy Tuilagi, 11 Tom Prydie, 10 Steffan Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Lewis Evans (capt), 5 Adam Jones, 4 Ian Nimmo, 3 Dan Way, 2 Steve Jones, 1 Phil Price.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Gustafson, 17 Aaron Coundley, 18 Nathan Buck, 19 Jevon Groves, 20 Tom Brown, 21 Liam Davies, 22 Ashley Smith, 23 Will Harries.

Date: Friday, October 5
Kick-off: 19:05 BST
Venue: Parc y Scarlets
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Ian Davies (Wales), Gwyn Morris (Wales)
Television match official: Derek Bevan (Wales)

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Pool 3
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1Toulon28
2Scarlets24
3Leicester Tigers24
4Ulster21