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The players set to profit from Wales' new gameplan

With the Pivac era now a distant memory, Warren Gatland has a rich seam of talent to select from in the Six Nations

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Bristol loanee Dan Thomas immediately selected for Scarlets

By Ian Cameron
Dan Thomas and his Bristol side have put up a fight but lost four of five league games this season (Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images)

Bristol Bears have loaned Dan Thomas on a two-game loan to Welsh URC side Scarlets, who are suffering a fresh injury crisis.

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Scarlets currently have 18 players unavailable for selection for various reasons. All Blacks and soon-to-be Tonga back row Vaea Fifita is serving a ban while fellow looseforwards Blade Thomson, Aaron Shingler, Carwyn Tuipulotu, Tomás Lezana and Dan Davis are all out injured.

Thomas, a former Wales U20 flanker, joins on a two-match loan deal and is named on the openside as the Scarlets prepare to take on Connacht at The Sportsground on Friday evening. “Scarlets are without a few back-row players and now that we are without a game this weekend, this is a great opportunity for Dan to get some additional game time against two strong opponents,” said Bristol director of rugby, Pat Lam.

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Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “It is a big challenge ahead. With Connacht, the last two weeks have shown us that they have come out of the blocks hard against Munster and Leinster.

“It is going to be a big physical challenge for us. We need to plan for that and make sure when we get opportunities we take them. The fundamentals of the game when you go there are so important, the ability to field kicks, your ability to cover back field, kick well and physicality, that is the challenge. If we can get on top of the fundamentals we give ourselves a chance.”

SCARLETS TEAM:
15 Leigh Halfpenny; 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Steff Evans, 12 Jonathan Davies (capt), 11 Ryan Conbeer; 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Kieran Hardy; 1 Steff Thomas, 2 Ken Owens, 3 Harri O’Connor 4 Jac Price, 5 Tom Price, 6 Josh Macleod, 7 Dan Thomas, 8 Sione Kalamafoni.

REPLACEMENTS: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Kemsley Mathias, 18 WillGriff John, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Iwan Shenton, 21 Dane Blacker, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Corey Baldwin.

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UNAVAILABLE: Sam Lousi, Vaea Fifita, Wyn Jones, Scott Williams, Blade Thomson, Johnny Williams, Ioan Nicholas, Tomás Lezana, Tom Rogers, Aaron Shingler, Dan Davis, Phil Price, Lewis Rawlins, Joe Roberts, Carwyn Tuipulotu, Callum Williams, Samson Lee, Griff Evans.

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