Scarlets will take on Leinster in the European Rugby Champions Cup semi final, at Aviva Stadium Dublin on Saturday, the region’s first semi final in eleven years.
Captain Ken Owens, who was on the replacements bench in that semi final eleven years ago, but didn’t make it on to the field, will lead his side to the field on Saturday as he makes his 50th European appearance.
Owens, alongside Scarlets’ Attack Coach Stephen Jones, are the only personnel remaining from that side over a decade ago but he will lead a star-studded side against former champions Leinster in Dublin on Saturday.
— Scarlets Rugby (@scarlets_rugby) April 20, 2018
The Scarlets have experienced success in recent times at the Aviva Stadium, lifting the Guinness PRO12 trophy there at the end of last season, and will be looking to ensure a similar performance on Saturday afternoon.
With injuries to personnel in the backthree, including Johnny Mcnicholl and Tom Prydie, Pivac has named international stand-off Rhys Patchell at fullback with Steff Evans and Leigh Halfpenny on the wings.
The international centre partnership of Hadleigh Parkes and Scott Williams line up behind halfbacks Dan Jones and Gareth Davies.
Up front the international front row of Rob Evans, Owens and Samson Lee will lead from the front with Tadhg Beirne and David Bulbring in the second row. Adding weight to the back of the pack are Aaron Shingler, James Davies and John Barclay.
Looking ahead to the clash head coach Wayne Pivac said; “Leinster have shown right the way through this competition (that they’re the form team). Getting through the pool stage unbeaten shows the strength of their squad.
“It’s going to be one of those games, from first whistle to last, where we have to be at our best. It’s a great challenge and one where we aspire to be. We’re really looking forward to it.
“We can certainly take a lot of confidence out of the fact we went to Ireland twice last year and came away with two wins. Having said that that was twelve months ago. They’re a different side, we’re a different side. There’s some quality that was in the side last year that won’t be there this weekend. It’s going to be, I believe, a quality match. It’s going to be a massive occasion. It’ll be a difficult day, there’s no doubt about that.
“We’re in the same competitions so we face each other often. This is the first clash since that semi final last year with our top sides out. Both sides know there’s a massive prize at the end of the day. Everyone has a lot to play for.”
Scarlets team to face Leinster
15 Rhys Patchell, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies, 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ken Owens ©, 3 Samson Lee, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 5 David Bulbring, 6 Aaron Shingler, 7 James Davies, 8 John Barclay
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Dylan Evans, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 Steve Cummins, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Steff Hughes, 23 Will Boyde