Planet Rugby

Scarlets squad bolstered

02nd April 2014 10:05


Simon Easterby Leinster

Determined: Simon Easterby

Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby will be boosted by the return of a number of players for his side's PRO12 European quest.

Easterby's men took maximum points from mid-table rivals Connacht on Sunday, knowing that a top seven place is necessary to guarantee them a spot in next season's Heineken Cup replacement.

And the ex-Ireland international will soon be able to call upon many players who have been sidelined for much of 2014, with the Scarlets given a break this weekend as the European quarter-finals take place.

The Shingler brothers, Aaron and Steve, are set to make their respective comebacks from ankle and shoulder injuries, the latter missing almost all of the season to date.

Highly-rated Wales tighthead Samson Lee was ruled out of the 32-30 Connacht triumph with calf problems, but is set to be fit for next Saturday's clash with Zebre, as is second-row George Earle, who is recovering from a damaged foot.

Joint-captain Rob McCusker should also be back in the selection mix having been sidelined with hamstring trouble since the Scarlets' loss to Ulster in Belfast during March.

Easterby earlier this week cooled fears over scrum-half Gareth Davies, who was stretchered off on Sunday with a dead leg, and the hope remains that he is not out of action for too long.

"It was nice to get through the game against Connacht because we had a lot of players missing, mainly with little bumps, not major concerns," Easterby told the Llanelli Star.

"We have a week off and hopefully we will come back into the Zebre week with a clean bill of health.

"The majority of the squad will be available which will be great, there will be a real competition for places towards the end of the season."

As for the Scarlets' European ambitions, Easterby's men sit well-placed in sixth, seven points above Connacht in seventh, and enjoy home advantage for three of their remaining four PRO12 fixtures.

"We just have to concentrate on ourselves, it is in our hands now," said back-rower Josh Turnbull.

"Rob McCusker said a couple of weeks ago, it is backs against the wall and nothing other than a win will do every week. That is what we have got to keep concentrating on."

  • Guinness PRO12 Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
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Recent Results
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
Sunday , September 14
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
Saturday , September 13
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
Friday , September 12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
Edinburgh 13 - 14 ConnachtEdinburgh vs Connacht Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys
Ulster 33 - 13 ZebreUlster vs Zebre Report
Sunday , September 7
Zebre 26 - 41 Cardiff BluesZebre vs Cardiff Blues Report
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets 32 - 32 UlsterScarlets vs Ulster Report
Connacht 16 - 11 Newport Gwent D'gonsConnacht vs Newport Gwent D
Glasgow 22 - 20 Leinster
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Guinness PRO12 Table
2Glasgow Warriors28