Planet Rugby

Preview: Dragons v Scarlets

04th February 2011 09:27

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Matthew Jones dragons fly half

Leading the Dragons attack: Matthew Jones

The Scarlets travel to Rodney Parade for an all-Welsh clash in the last group stages of the LV=Cup on Sunday with a side packed with future Scarlets talent.

The Scarlets currently have nine senior squad players on international duty, a group of Scarlets academy and development players with Wales U20 and U18s, two with Wales Sevens (Richie Pugh and Lees Rees) and another 16 unavailable through injury.

The region has called on the services of a number of Llanelli RFC regulars for this fixture as well as a core of development players within the Scarlets set-up.

Scarlets Head Coach Nigel Davies said: "It is a challenging time for us as we have a 38-man squad and most are out on international duties or injured, however the flip side of that is that we are handing opportunities to a lot of players who are eager to prove themselves and will take great pride in wearing the Scarlets jersey on Sunday.

"Equally we have to be mindful about balancing this fixture and player rotation given how few fit players we have in light of three crucial Magners League games we have coming up.

"If you think back to 18 months ago, some of our core talent within the senior squad was being given the exposure to highly competitive rugby as part of their development and now many of them are with Wales.

"Part of the progression is to develop these players into winning players, so we go there with the same mentality and we have been successful against the Dragons over the last three years so we'll be taking the game to them."

Experienced Scarlets front rower, Phil John takes the captain's armband again with former Wales tighthead Rhys Thomas back from injury. The Scarlets backs have plenty to offer in terms of pace and power with Dan Evans at full-back, Darren Daniel returns from Carmarthen Quins back to Scarlets colours on the wing, former Wales U20 star Scott Williams returns from injury at centre with Gareth Davies getting the scrum-half jersey.

The teams:

Dragons:15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Adam Hughes, 13 Matthew Watkins, 12 Pat Leach, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Matthew Jones, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Lewis Evans, 6 Andrew Coombs, 5 Rob Sidoli, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Pat Palmer, 2 Tom Willis (C), 1 Hugh Gustafson,
Replacements:16 Lloyd Burns, 17 Scott Roberts, 18 Dan Way, 19 Scott Morgan, 20 Hugo Ellis, 21 Mike Petri, 22 Ashley Smith, 23 Jason Tovey.

Scarlets:15 Daniel Evans, 14 Darren Daniel, 13 Nick Reynolds, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Joe Ajuwa, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Damian Welch. 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Nathan White, 4 Adam Powell, 3 Rhys Thomas, 2 Rhys Lawrence, 1 Phil John (c),
Replacements: 16 Craig Hawkins, 17 Sean Hopkins, 18 Dean Howells, 19 Duane Eager, 20 Mat Gilbert, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Jonny Lewis, 23 Rheon James.

Date: Sunday, February 6
Kick-off: 13:00
Venue: Rodney Parade
Referee: Greg Garner (England)

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