Thursday, December 6, 2007

Scarlets v Munsterh (Heineken Cup)

The Scarlets have made two changes to the side which defeated Saracens, for Saturday's crunch Heineken Cup encounter at Stradey Park.

Gavin Evans returns at inside centre in place of exciting prospect Jonathan Davies while Nathan Brew gets his first start in Europe on the wing, replacing Garan Evans who slips out of the squad.

Alix Popham will once again start the game from the bench which means Dafydd Jones will begin the match at number eight for the second consecutive game.

"Daf is playing well at the moment and we've got a lot of games coming up so it's about rotating the squad and keeping consistency going in selection," explained Director of Rugby Phil Davies.

"We've got guys like James Bater who is also playing well but he's not even in the match 22. It's also about balancing everything together. It's a case of managing people in different ways - the way things go we may need Alix for the next three games but it's great to have strength in depth in a crucial area."

The Scarlets supremo also hit back at criticisms his pack have faced over the past few weeks.

"This is the same pack which got us to the semi-finals in Europe last season," he said.

"We'll just have to tough it out. We've addressed certain things after last weekend and I'm sure the boys will respond this weekend."

Davies is expecting a tough match against Munster, a side the Scarlets beat at Stradey in the quarter-finals of the tournament last season.

"They have a lot of international players and are a very robust and direct side but they are always capable of springing a surprise or two," he said.

"We have great respect for them as they are well coached and playing Munster back to back is going to be huge challenge as you have two great rugby cultures coming together."

More to follow...

Scarlets: 15 Morgan Stoddart, 14 Mark Jones, 13 Regan King, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Nathan Brew, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Dafydd Jones, 7 Gavin Thomas, 6 Simon Easterby (c), 5 Scott Macleod, 4 Adam Eustace, 3 Deacon Manu, 2 James Hayter, 1 Iestyn Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Daniel George 17 Bruce Douglas 18 Vernon Cooper 19 Alix Popham 20 Gavin Cattle 21 Rhys Priestland 22 Jonathan Davies

Munster: tba
Match Date: Saturday 8 December, 2007

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