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Scarlets Packed For French Trip

Scarlets Packed For French Trip

Llanelli have made two changes to the side that beat Glasgow so comprehensively in the first round of the Heineken Cup at Stradey Park last Saturday, for their second round trip to Bourgoin this Friday.

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The Scarlets’ player of the year last season, USA international David Hodges, starts in the back row in place of injured Irish flanker Simon Easterby (AC joint – shoulder), whilst Dafydd Jones comes in for Ian Boobyer (shoulder strain) on the other flank.

But Llanelli backs coach Nigel Davies says, whilst the changes where forced on the Scarlets because of injuries, they may well have included Hodges and/or Jones to add weight to the side to face a heavy Bourgoin pack in any


“It was an impressive performance against Glasgow,” he said. “We got the better of a much fancied provincial side who have beaten Cardiff and trounced Bridgend already this year, and so we’ve very much based our selection on achieving the same standards again in Bourgoin.

“That said, Bourgoin are a very big side in the pack with a strong scrum. So we have prepared well up front for this one and, although we are forced to make the two changes, its possible our selection has ended up being the best one for the job.

“It was a massive achievement for the French to beat Sale on their home patch last week, but we are in a particularly tight group and all four teams are capable of beating each other on their day. To that end its vitally important that we can pick points up away from home.”

Stephen Jones knows how important a victory on foreign soil can be in Heineken Cup rugby. He kicked 11 points as Llanelli racked up five tries against Bourgoin with an impressive away victory the last time they met in the Heineken Cup, in January 2000, and he remembers that match with relish.

“I have fond memories of a great victory in France last time around, they played some fabulous rugby but we got enough points on the board to ensure they couldn’t come back,” added Jones.

“And French clubs seem to have made even more progress this year in that they are able to do just as well on the road as at home. It will be a huge step in the right direction if we can get a victory.”

Llanelli: Garan Evans; Mark Jones, Matthew Watkins, Leigh Davies (Captain), Salesi Finau; Stephen Jones, Dwayne Peel; Iestyn Thomas, Robin McBryde, Martyn Madden, Vernon Cooper, Chris Wyatt, David Hodges, Dafydd Jones, Scott Quinnell

Replacements: John Davies, Phil John, Luke Gross, Jamie Cudmore, Guy

Easterby, Gareth Bowen, Barry Davies

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