Planet Rugby

Preview: Scarlets v Clermont

18th January 2013 07:41

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Napolioni Nalaga clermont v Scarlets 2012

Attack: Napolioni Nalaga

Wales backs George North and Jonathan Davies both return to the Scarlets starting line-up for Saturday's clash with Clermont Auvergne.

Rob McCusker moves to number eight with Sioni Timani starting at blindside flanker, whilst Johan Snyman comes into the second row.

Exciting prospect Samson Lee starts at tighthead prop, replacing the South Africa Jacobie Adriaanse who drops to the bench.

The Scarlets European campaign never really got started and was really derailed after their morale-sapping 49-16 defeat out in Clermont at the start of the Pool back in October.

The Welsh side, who were Heineken Cup semi-finalists in 2007, have failed to win a game in this Pool and were on the end of another defeat when they were beaten 33-14 by Leinster in Dublin in the last round.

Meanwhile, Clermont make eight changes to the side that hammered Exeter Chiefs last weekend, with Wales back Lee Byrne returning at full-back.

Julien Malzieu comes in on the right wing with Benson Stanley partnering captain Aurélien Rougerie in the centres. David Skrela is the other change in the backs, coming in at fly-half for Brock James.

In the pack Raphael Chaume starts in place of Thomas Domingo, with Alexandre Lapandry and Elvis Vermeulen joining Julien Bonnaire into the back-row.

The French side, who reached last season's semi-finals only to be knocked out by eventual winners Leinster, travel to west Wales knowing a win against the Scarlets would ensure a home quarter-final.

Clermont are one of only three sides, along with English champions Harlequins and Top 14 league leaders Toulon, who remain unbeaten in the Pool stages with one game still to play and have had Morgan Parra in prime form.

Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Kristian Phillips, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Rob McCusker, 7 Josh Turnbull, 6 Sione Timani, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 George Earle, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Richard Kelly, 20 Aaron Shingler, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Gareth Maule, 23 Andy Fenby.

ASM Clermont Auvergne: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Julien Malzieu, 13 Aurélien Rougerie (c), 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 David Skrela, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Elvis Vermeulen, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Julien Bonnaire, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Jamie Cudmore, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Raphael Chaume.
Replacements: 16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Daniel Kotze, 19 Julien Pierre, 20 Damien Chouly, 21 Ludovic Radoslavjevic , 22 Kevin Senio, 23 Regan King.

Date: Saturday, 19 January
Venue: Parc y Scarlets
Kick-off: 18:00 GMT
Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: David Changleng (Scotland), Adrian Graves (Scotland)
Television match official: Jim Yuille (Scotland)

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