Scarlets v Zebre match preview

Second placed Scarlets welcome the new team in the league, Zebre , to Parc Y Scarlets this Saturday.

With twelve Scarlets players called up to Wales’ international training squad, 11 of which are first team starters, the west Wales region now embark on a month of fixtures that will sorely test their squad depth.

The return of the injured George Earle and Johann Snyman gives them a big boost in the 2nd row and after a decent, albeit brief, display against Edinburgh sees Gareth Owen pair up with the dependable Gareth Maule at centre.

In form wing Kristian Phillips is rewarded for his excellent strike rate with Llanelli RFC with a starting spot, which sees him complete a very dangerous back three with Fenby and Stoddart.

Front row and back row are the two areas which Zebre will have to target if they are to gain anything from this match. Having conceded a whopping 193 points so far this season, they have only managed to secure one point. They will be heartened however that the point came against a very disrupted Glasgow side, and will hope the enforced changes by the Scarlets will give them another good opportunity for points.

Fielding many academy players, this is again a team Zebre have sent out mainly for development. As typical of an Italian side, their pack is their main strength and they will hope to gain advantage in the scrums against a Scarlets side that is currently low on depth at prop for this fixture.

If Zebre can gain some possession with their forwards and disrupt a Scarlets backline full of untried combinations, they could seek to dig their way into the game.

The Scarlets will have to make sure they keep their game plan firmly in mind, as there is no doubting they have the power and skill throughout their team to put a big score on their visitors. It will depend on their discipline and awareness, but if their penalty count remains as high as it has been this season it could see Zebre staying in touch with them, as seen with Edinburgh the week before, and putting themselves under needless pressure.

Despite Zebre being perceived as the whipping boys of the PRO12 this season, it would be a foolish team that underestimates them, especially one that faces as many changes as the Scarlets.

Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU)

Teams

Scarlets: 15 Morgan Stoddart 14 Kristian Phillips 13 Gareth Maule 12 Gareth Owen 11 Andy Fenby 10 Aled Thomas 9 Gareth Davies 1 Phil John 2 Kirby Myhill 3 Deacon Manu 4 George Earle 5 Johan Snyman 6 Tomás Vallejos 7 Johnathan Edwards (capt) 8 Kieran Murphy

Replacements: 16 Craig Hawkins, 17 Shaun Hopkins, 18 Peter Edwards, 19 Sione Timani, 20 Craig Price, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Nick Reynolds.

Treviso: 15 Ruggero Trevisan 14 David Odiete 13 Matteo Pratichetti 12 Daniel Halangahu 11 Samuele Pace
10 Paolo Buso 9 Tito Tebaldi 8 Andries Van Schalkwyk 7 Filippo Cristiano(cap)6 Filippo Ferrarini    5 Filippo Cazzola 4 Josh Sole 3 Luca Redolfini 2 Andrea Manici 1 Matias Aguero
 
Replacements : 16 Andrea De Marchi 17 Luciano Leibson 18 Carlo Fazzari 19 Emiliano Caffini
20 Nicola Belardo 21 Alberto Chiesa 22 Leonardo Sarto 23 Alberto Benettin

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