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Scarlets Full Strength For Friendly With Sale In Mind

Scarlets Full Strength For Friendly With Sale In Mind

Llanelli take their first step on the road to new Heineken Cup glory with a warm up match against Ebbw Vale at Eugene Cross Park tomorrow (Saturday 30th November, K.O. 2.30pm) – and they have named just the side to rekindle the campaign.

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Scott Quinnell plays his first match since retiring from international rugby during the BT Autumn series at Millennium Stadium and the Scarlet’s talisman is joined by both of the clubs new internationals in the starting line-up.

Dafydd Jones and Vernon Cooper picked up their first caps during Wales’ Autumn test series and the Llanelli first team now boasts no fewer than 10 Welsh, two Irish and one Tongan international, with another six capped players on the bench.

Centre Matthew Watkins, who returns to action after an ankle injury, and prop Phil John are the only uncapped players to start for the Scarlets, as they build to do battle with Sale Sharks in the third round of European Rugby’s flagship tournament next Friday (Kick-off 7.45pm, Manchester).

Club captain Leigh Davies and Irish back rower Simon Easterby also make welcome returns after injury, but team manager Anthony Buchanan is just pleased to have most of his squad back together again and in one piece.

“The international boys have been off for over a month and this is a chance for them to have a run out and gel together,” he said.

“It’s an incredibly important game for us before we rekindle the Heineken Cup Campaign against Sale next weekend, we really need to slot back into the groove as quickly as possible.

“With that in mind we’ve selected a very strong team and it’s good to have Leigh, Matthew and Simon back having recovered from injury.”

An injury to hooker Marcus Thomas (knee), and Robin McBryde’s need for a deserved rest after international duty, has lead the Scarlets to pick John Davies at Hooker, a position he has played in his youth.

Prop David Maddocks survives from the club’s U21 squad, which boosted the first team in the absence of international players during the Autumn, and takes his place on the bench.

Llanelli: Garan Evans; Mark Jones, Matthew Watkins, Leigh Davies (Capt), Salesi Finau; Stephen Jones, Guy Easterby; Phil John, John Davies, Martyn Madden, Vernon Cooper, Chris Wyatt, Dafydd Jones, Simon Easterby, Scott Quinnell

Replacements from: Iestyn Thomas, David Maddocks, Luke Gross, David Hodges, Ian Boobyer, Dwayne Peel, Gareth Bowen, Wayne Proctor, Barry Davies

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