St David’s Day will see home side Scarlets take on their visitors Edinburgh in what for them is a must win game if they are to retain realistic hopes of making the play-offs. It was a costly loss away from home last week against Leinster, and they know that they can’t afford any other slip ups during the run in. Edinburgh on the other hand are facing the Welsh region on the back of 10 straight losses and are desperate for any sort of result. They will also be keen to avenge their one point loss to the Scarlets from earlier on in the season.
Both teams have been depleted by international call ups and it will be yet another chance to see how the youngsters in both squads can go.
The battle of the scrum halves looks a good one, with the more experienced Rees taking on the talented Davies for the Scarlets who is being rewarded with starts after showing a good run of form. Both back rows are boosted by the release of international players, Shingler for the home side and Denton for the visitors, and the Scarlets will be hoping that they can see a return of their forward play that saw them gain three straight victories in a row at home.
In the backline, Edinburgh will miss De Luca, who has just been hit with a 13 week ban for a dangerous tackle. Despite missing so many first choice starters, the Scarlets will hope to contain their opponent’s’ backs with a solid centre pairing in Warren and Maule, as well as having the talents of Liam Williams to call upon again at full back.
Aled Thomas is handed the fly half shirt and he will have to have a good game to retain his starting spot ahead of the talented Williams.
The home side have the better bench, with excellent front row replacements and a sniping scrum half to call upon, but they will certainly need a big improvement in their last performance if they are to have a chance of beating Edinburgh. The Scottish side is in a poor run of form, yet will be more determined than ever to secure a win, and with the Scarlets at their most depleted this would be an excellent time for them to beat them.
Both sides like to play an attractive style of rugby, yet the forward grunt, and the wilier backs should be enough for the Scarlets to secure a very much needed home win. Edinburgh still have the capabilities of springing a surprise, and if they are in any way underestimated they still have the players to hurt the Welsh region.
At the business end of the season, each game holds massive pressure. If the Scarlets are to have any desires of being a true top four team in the league, they need to win, and win convincingly to keep themselves in the right position in the table.
Referee: Guiseppe Vivarini (FIR)
Scarlets: L Williams; N Reynolds, G Maule, A Warren, A Fenby; A Thomas, A Davies; P John, E Phillips, S Lee, J Ball, J SNyman, A Shingler, J Edwards, R McCusker (capt).
Replacements: M Rees, R Jones, D Manu, S Timani, K Murphy, G Davies, O Williams, K Phillips.
Edinburgh: G Tonks, D Fife, B Cairns, B Atiga, L Jones, H Leonard, R Rees, A Jacobsen, S Lawrie, W Nel, P Parker, S Cox (captain), S McInally, H Watson, D Denton.
Replacements: A Titterrell, J Yapp, A Allan, R McAlpine, N Talei, C Leck, P Francis, T Brown.