Friday, 31 January 2014

British and Irish Lion centre Davies back in action for Scarlets

World-renowned international centre Jonathan Davies will return to action this weekend, after being sidelined with a pectoral tear since the Autumn Internationals, and will line up alongside fellow Scarlets captain Rob McCusker in the region's LV= Cup clash against London Irish.
The final pool stage of the 2013-14 LV= Cup campaign sees the Scarlets travel to the Madejski Stadium on Saturday 1st February, kick-off 4pm, to take on London Irish with the Welsh region looking to build on their victory over Gloucester last Friday evening and secure a strong footing as they return to league action next week.

Previous LV= Cup encounters between the two sides came in November 2010 and January 2012 with the Scarlets victorious on both occasions; 16-25 and 27-19 respectively.

Davies makes a welcome return to the Scarlets jersey having last played for the region against Zebre in October.

Scarlets Head Coach Simon Easterby said: "It's an opportunity for Jon to get game time after such a long lay-off. It's good news he's had such a speedy recovery and he's done really well to get back in the timeframe he has. He's ready and will play his part for us on the weekend.”

Deacon Manu also makes a return to action after a long injury; he made his last appearance for the region against Benetton Treviso at Parc y Scarlets in September 2013 when he suffered a fractured arm. Manu start at tighthead prop with Rob Evans his opposite at loosehead and young Darran Harris taking up the hooker berth.

Despite securing victory over Gloucester in poor conditions at Parc y Scarlets last Friday evening Northampton Saints' victory over the Dragons on Saturday means that the Scarlets are no longer in the running for a semi final spot in the LV= Cup competition. Easterby added: "We're disappointed not to be battling it out for a semi final spot but it's still important.

"We had some momentum last season from a couple of good performances in the LV= Cup and took that into the PRO12. We have an important month coming up in the league.”
Easterby has made seven changes to the side who faced Gloucester last weekend and once again has opted for a mix of youth and experience for this weekend's encounter against London Irish.

Rob McCusker returns to captain the side with Frazier Climo also returning from the sidelines (concussion) and young flanker Lewis Rawlins making his second start for the region.

Easterby went on to say: "It's an opportunity to get some guys game time that we haven't seen much of in the Scarlets shirt. The young guys have gone well in the British & Irish Cup with Llanelli and in the Premiership for Llandovery and Carmarthen Quins.

"We're looking forward to see some different combinations within the squad but it's also important for us to build momentum going into a tough four weeks of PRO12.”

Scarlets team to take on London Irish, Saturday 1st February, kick-off 4pm:
15 Jordan Williams, 14 Aaron Warren, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Gareth Owen, 11 Frazier Climo, 10 Josh Lewis, 9 Aled Davies, 1 Rob Evans, 2 Darran Harris, 3 Deacon Manu, 4 Richard Kelly, 5 Johan Snyman, 6 Lewis Rawlins, 7 Craig Price, 8 Rob McCusker (c)

Replacements: Torin Myhill, Wyn Jones, Jacobie Adriaanse, George Earle, Daniel Thomas, Gareth Davies, Aled Thomas, Adam Warren

The following are unavailable for selection through injury: Steven Shingler (shoulder), Sion Bennett (shoulder), Nic Reynolds (pec), Gareth Maule (concussion), Kirby Myhill (thigh haematoma), Sione Timani (calf strain).


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