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Scarlets fly home Wales international Lee after brutal training injury

By Kim Ekin
Samson Lee /Getty

The Scarlets have confirmed that they have had to fly home Wales international Samson Lee who suffered a brutal training ground injury.

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Lee’s season is almost certainly over, even if the notoriously tricky injury is on the lower end of the scale.

The Scarlets, who face Jake White’s Bulls in Pretoria tomorrow, released the following statement:  “Scarlets can confirm that prop Samson Lee has flown back to the UK from South Africa after rupturing his Achilles tendon in training.

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“On his return home, the Wales international will undergo a specialist review to establish a management plan for the injury.

“Javan Sebastian has joined the Scarlets squad in Pretoria ahead of their URC match against the Vodacom Bulls on Friday evening,” concluded the statement.

There is good news elsewhere on the injury front however, as Dwayne Peel’s side will have the added boost of Los Pumas back row Tomas Lezana who returns from injury.

Lezana hasn’t played since suffering an ankle injury in the Scarlets’ Champions Cup defeat in Bordeaux in January, and is one of eight changes to the starting XV for the rescheduled URC match, one of which is positional.

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Wales international prop Rob Evans also returns. Evans is set for his first appearance since picking up a knee injury against the Ospreys on New Year’s Day.

Johnny Williams and captain Scott Williams are paired in midfield for the fourth time in a row, while Rhys Patchell has been passed fit to start at fly-half and will partner scrum-half Dane Blacker.

Second row Morgan Jones is named on the bench.

“The Bulls are obviously a quality side, a lot of internationals, a big physical pack. We talked last week that physicality is non-negotiable in South Africa, that is a starting point for us, they also have some fast backs who are clinical when they get opportunities,” said Dwayne Peel. “It is about matching that physicality, not kicking loosely and also being excited when we have the ball as well. We saw glimpses last week of some really good stuff when we have the ball, if we can finish a few of those off we will be happy.”

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Ioan Nicholas, who has recovered from a hamstring injury, replaces Tom Rogers in the back three, while Corey Baldwin is replaced on the left wing by a fit Ryan Conbeer.

In the front row, Kemsley Mathias starts at loose-head for the first time, while Javan Sebastian takes over at tight-head for the injured Samson Lee. Lee had an Achilles tendon rupture while training this week and had to return to the United Kingdom.

At lock, Sam Lousi and Jac Price remain, but the back row is reshuffled. Aaron Shingler will play blindside, Lezana will play openside, and Blade Thomson will play No. 8, with Sione Kalamafoni among the replacements.

SCARLETS TEAM: 15 Ioan Nicholas; 14 Steff Evans, 13 Johnny Williams, 12 Scott Williams (capt), 11 Ryan Conbeer; 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Dane Blacker; 1 Kemsley Mathias, 2 Daf Hughes, 3 Javan Sebastian, 4 Sam Lousi, 5 Jac Price, 6 Aaron Shingler, 7 Tomas Lezana, 8 Blade Thomson.

REPLACEMENTS: 16 Shaun Evans, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Harri O’Connor, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Sione Kalamafoni, 21 Archie Hughes, 22 Sam Costelow, 23 Joe Roberts.

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J
Jon 47 minutes ago
Buoyant England travel to New Zealand full of hope but are they walking into an All Blacks ambush?

> New head coach Scott Robertson has kept only forwards coach Jason Ryan and conditioning coach Nic Gill from the previous regime *and so there is little institutional knowledge inherent in the new team.* Shows you what the English know about sport. Isn’t just fantastic that the best rugby team, or brand, on the planet has three brothers playing together? One a bull, the other a dancer, and last a .. boxer? Looks like a boxer bless him. > But Robertson has been working to fix that issue, with senior players and coaches having been regularly meeting to work out how they will operate together both on and off the field to ensure there is strong decision-making and a deep understanding of how the team wants to play. Have they? I would suggest then it is not a case of fixing things, that is not what Razor does. Razor will evolve the relationship between player and coach into a more symbiotic relationship. This wont be a coach that shouts down at his players theyre not doing good enough. I can imagine one of the first key areas he will be implementing is the respective leadership for each coaching group. Tight five, Loosies, Halves, Centers, and Back Three, will each have their own leadership team and an agile approach to the playing group relaying what they believe is happening on the training paddock, and in games. It will be a very big step to get everyone involved, able, and thinking about contributing to that process, but I believe a very beneficial one if successful. > England may have their best chance to win in 21 years, but they may also be walking into an ambush – *about to be hit* by a young, gifted, supremely physical and athletic All Blacks team coached by a man who has made every post a winner so far in his career and has this uncanny knack of getting the best out of people. Or, by a group hurting from not getting over the line and proving to everyone they are the best in the world, full of experience and cohesion, grit and motivation. You only need to look at someone like Patrick Tuipulotu to see someone with a fire under his belly from missing out on the last RWC due to injury, and having lost to this opposition in the previous one. It will be very interesting to see how this ‘Razor’ plays it. Does he stick with the traditional and protect the time honored All Black values of commitment, or does he evolve and pick the best players to win the Rugby Championship - and by association this test series - like Akira Ioane?

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