British and Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies will be given a warm welcome back to play at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday night as the Scarlets host their second PRO12 fixture against Italian side Treviso.
Jonathan Davies is selected to add impact from bench for the Scarlets second home game of the season and is sure to bring added leadership to the group of Scarlets internationals including on the field including Rhys Priestland, Ken Owens, Rob McCusker (captain), Liam Williams, Scott Williams, Aaron Shingler and Josh Turnbull.
Scarlets Head Coach Simon Easterby makes just one change to his starting XV from the side that faced Leinster last weekend at Parc y Scarlets with young World Cup Wales U20 star Jordan Williams coming onto the wing in place of the injured Kristian Phillips (fractured hand).
Scarlets Team v Treviso; Saturday September 14th 2013 kick off 6.30pm at Parc y Scarlets; 15 Gareth Owen; 14 Liam Williams; 13 Scott Williams; 12 Steven Shingler; 11 Jordan Williams; 10 Rhys Priestland; 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Phil John; 2 Ken Owens; 3 Samson Lee; 4 George Earle; 5 Jo Snyman; 6 Aaron Shingler; 7 Josh Turnbull; 8 Rob McCusker (capt).
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Deacon Manu, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Sione Timani, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Jonathan Davies, 23 Nick Reynolds.
The Scarlets have never begun a PRO12 campaign with back-to-back defeats and after a disappointing final quarter of the game against Leinster at home in their opening game will be looking to put things right back in front of their home support on Saturday evening (kick off 6.30pm, Parc y Scarlets).
Benetton Treviso gained a losing bonus point from their 19-24 defeat to Ospreys at Stadio Monigo in round 1 but have recorded just two victories in Wales in the history of this tournament: at Newport in 2012 and at Llanelli in May 2013.
Treviso have beaten the Scarlets on three of their last four encounters including a 41-17 victory at Parc y Scarlets in round 22 last season - which will still be fresh in Scarlets’ minds.
Scarlets Forwards Coach Danny Wilson said the region had plenty to be positive about given the mix of youth, talent, experience and commitment in the Scarlets ranks.
He said “We know it’s going to be a good test – particularly up front but I was pleased with how the forwards performed in the first half of our game last weekend against an experienced Leinster line-up.
“We put good pressure on Leinster’s scrum and I don’t think they would have been happy with that, I was pleased with line-out too and from forwards point of view, it was a good start to the season. Many may not automatically associate the Scarlets for their up-front play in the past, but that’s an identity we want to banish.
“The boys are working very hard and it’s also really encouraging for our future to see young Props like Samson Lee and Rob Evans stepping up against some very experienced front rowers and holding their own.
“We know Treviso’s strength in driving line-out and that’s a tactic we have to deal with and we need to bring attitude and also know we can drive against them.”
Wilson said the players had addressed the errors from last weekend well in training and the added boost of having the experience and talent of Lions centre Jon Davies to come onto the field would be important on Saturday evening.
He said: “We fell away last weekend in the final quarter and our ball retention was abysmal which we didn’t see coming; we compounded one mistake with another in a short space of time and it’s important that our leaders on the field take control, grab hold of those situations and get us back to the positives.
“It will be great for the team to have Jon Davies back in the shirt – we saw what he did in the summer and his team-mates can feed off his confidence, energy and leadership and alongside the other senior players in our team hopefully we can improve on what happened in our first game.”
Players not available for selection: Kristian Phillips, wing (fractured hand), John Barclay, back row (shoulder injury), Gareth Maule (knee), Rhodri Williams, scrum-half (shoulder sprain).