Follow all the action on the RugbyPass live blog from the Guinness PRO14 match between Scarlets and the Southern Kings at Parc y Scarlets.
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South African international Werner Kruger takes over the captaincy for the Scarlets. With centre Steff Hughes sidelined because of a shoulder injury picked up during last weekend’s defeat Edinburgh, the experienced Kruger takes over the armband for the first time this season.
The Scarlets starting XV shows three changes from the 14-9 defeat to the Scots. Corey Baldwin has recovered from a rib injury to take his place on the right wing, while Paul Asquith comes into midfield to replace Hughes in the only other change behind the scrum.
Upfront, Wales international Samson Lee has been given more time to recover from a calf issue so Kruger again packs down at tighthead alongside hooker Taylor Davies and loose-head prop Phil Price.
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Fijian international lock Tevita Ratuva comes in and partners fellow Pacific islander Sam Lousi in the second row, while the back row is the same as last weekend. Aaron Shingler is the lone player released from Six Nations duty and he will slot in alongside Macleod and Uzair Cassiem.
On the bench, hooker Ifan Phillips, who has linked up with the squad on a short-term loan deal from the Ospreys, is named among the replacements; prop Dylan Evans comes in for Rob Evans, who was on the bench for Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, while back three player Tom Rogers is set for his first PRO14 appearance of the season.
Scarlets forwards coach Ioan Cunningham said: “We had a lot of territory and possession against Edinburgh and we have learned a lot from that match – how to finish close to the try line and being clinical in those areas, little details which we have put right this week and we’re looking forward to getting on the field on Sunday to make those changes.”
Werner Kruger yn cymryd drosodd capteniaeth y Scarlets ar gyfer gwrthdaro Kings #ynypac
— Scarlets Rugby (@scarlets_rugby) February 21, 2020
Looking ahead to the challenge of the Kings, Cunningham added: “We have done a lot of work looking at them and they are a tough side, they bring a lot of physicality but they also have a lot of variation in their play. Their coaches are smart with different ploys and if you give them a sniff they will take advantage. They have athletes who can cause damage if you give them time and space.”
Meanwhile, No8 Elrigh Louw will make a return to the Southern Kings after serving a one-week suspension for a dangerous tackle versus the Cheetahs earlier this month. Louw returns to the starting XV in the only personnel change to the forwards that did duty when beaten by Munster last weekend.
Bobby de Wee makes way for Louw and Ruaan Lerm, who earned his 50th cap playing at No8 in Cork, shifts to blindside flank. The experienced Howard Mnisi has been included as the starting inside centre this weekend where he will form a partnership with Sibusiso Sithole.
? TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT ?
"The Sheriff" Elrigh Louw is back in the starting XV against @scarlets_rugby … and so is the experienced Howard Mnisi.
Courtney Winnaar will start at fullback, while Piet Scholtz also returns, on the bench, after serving a suspension. #SCAvKIN pic.twitter.com/AcsSdhQtEZ
— Isuzu Southern Kings (@SouthernKingsSA) February 21, 2020
Erich Louw, who wore the No12 jersey a week ago, shifts to left wing as Eddie Ludick, who made his debut last weekend, moves to provide cover from the bench. The versatile Courtney Winnaar has also been handed a starting berth, this time at full-back where he replaces Andell Loubser.
Also returning from a four-week suspension is Pieter Scholtz. He will provide front row cover from the bench.
“Training conditions have been difficult – very windy, lots of rain and obviously a lot of flooding in Wales at this point in time. The guys have tried to get out as much as they can to get used to local conditions,” said interim head coach Robbi Kempson.
“Hopefully, we can get our forwards to match them upfront and put one or two things we have put in place specifically for this game into play. Scarlets are an exceptionally good attacking side.
“With a guy like Brad Mooar as the head coach, you’d expect that kind of game from all his experience from the Crusaders. We’ll expect a game that’s played at a high tempo.”
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