Head coach Wayne Pivac has selected a strong side for the clash with Glasgow Warriors; one peppered with international talent both in the pack and across the backline.
Scarlets will take on the Warriors in the Guinness PRO14 semi-final on Friday night at Scotstoun Stadium as the West Wales region look to secure a victory for an opportunity to retain the trophy in Dublin next weekend.
Conference A leaders Glasgow secured a home semi-final after an impressive season in the cross-conference competition, finishing seven points clear of second-placed Munster at the end of the regular season games.
The Scarlets will take on Glasgow after securing a victory over newcomers Cheetahs in the quarter-final and will be hoping to see a repeat of last year’s successes to pave the way to the final, to be held once again in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, on Saturday 26th May.
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With Leigh Halfpenny unavailable due to a hamstring injury, sustained in the quarter-final clash against Cheetahs, Scarlets have been forced to make one change to the backline. Kiwi Johnny Mcnicholl makes a timely recovery from shoulder injury to take Halfpenny’s place at fullback.
Two personnel changes upfront see Aaron Shingler returning to the starting XV, which in turn sees fans favourite Tadhg Beirne return to the second row to partner Steve Cummins with Lewis Rawlins moving to the replacements bench.
Looking ahead to the game Head Coach Wayne Pivac said; “They’ve got a very good record at home. They play on a different surface, which they’re used to, so they have a bit of an advantage there, but it’s 80 minutes of knockout rugby. We think we’re in a reasonably good position in terms of our form going in to it.
“We’re really looking forward to it. We have a lot of respect for Glasgow, they have a good coaching group, some greats players and they’ve got a very strong home record. It makes for a good match-up. Both teams like to play, use the width of the field, and with that type of play it could be a great game.
“Boys enjoy knockout rugby and they enjoy being in these situations. We’re going in there with the mindset that we need to secure a top performance to be able to get on the right side of the ledger.”
Scarlets team to take on Glasgow in the Guinness PRO14 semi final, Scotstoun Stadium, Friday 18th May;
15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ken Owens ©, 3 Samson Lee, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 5 Steve Cummins, 6 Aaron Shingler, 7 James Davies, 8 John Barclay
Replacements; Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones, Werner Kruger, Lewis Rawlins, Will Boyde, Jonathan Evans, Dan Jones, Steff Hughes
Meanwhile, it will be the last official outing for Finn Russell as a Glasgow player, for the time being at least.
Russell, who is leaving the club in the summer, kicked a late touchline conversion in the club’s last home Semi-Final to win the game and 10,000 Warriors supporters will be hoping for another inspired performance from their fly-half against the reigning Champions.
Tommy Seymour was also missing at BT Murrayfield that day and he returns to the starting XV and will play alongside DTH van der Merwe and Stuart Hogg in the back three.
Peter Horne was another player to miss the game against Edinburgh and he is named on an experienced bench that includes club centurions Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, Henry Pyrgos and Ruaridh Jackson.
Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Dave Rennie said: “At the start of the season our goal was to be playing finals footy at home in front of our family and friends and we’re excited to be running out in front of a 10,000 strong Scotstoun tomorrow night.
“We’ve prepared well and it’s great to be able to bring back Jonny (Gray), Sam (Johnson) Pete (Horne)and Tommy (Seymour) who were late withdrawals ahead of our last game.”
“Scarlets are a quality side, they’re reigning Champions for a reason and we’re looking forward to the challenge on what is will be a special night for our players and supporters.”
Glasgow Warriors appearances in brackets:
15. Stuart Hogg
14. Tommy Seymour
13. Nick Grigg
12. Sam Johnson
11. DTH van der Merwe
10. Finn Russell
9. George Horne
1. Jamie Bhatti
2. Fraser Brown
3. Zander Fagerson
4. Tim Swinson
5. Jonny Gray
6. Matt Fagerson
7. Callum Gibbins
8. Ryan Wilson CAPTAIN
16. George Turner
17. Alex Allan
18. Siua Halanukonuka
19. Rob Harley
20. Chris Fusaro
21. Henry Pyrgos
22. Peter Horne
23. Ruaridh Jackson
Not available due to injury: Adam Ashe (ankle), Oli Kebble (ankle), Pat MacArthur (shoulder), Leo Sarto (shoulder).
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