Scarlets team to play Vodacom Bulls

Scarlets team to play Vodacom Bulls

Aaron Shingler takes over the captain’s armband as the Scarlets return to BKT United Rugby Championship action against the Vodacom Bulls on Friday night (19:35; BBC Wales & Viaplay).

With Jonathan Davies ruled out with a calf injury and Ken Owens in international camp with Wales, Shingler leads a side showing six personnel changes from last weekend’s EPCR Challenge Cup win in Bayonne.

Leigh Halfpenny is one of five Scarlets on Wales duty so Johnny McNicholl moves to full-back, Steff Evans switches to right wing and Ryan Conbeer returns on the left.

Ioan Nicholas comes in for the skipper at inside centre to partner Joe Roberts in midfield, while the half-backs are unchanged with Gareth Davies and Sam Costelow continuing at nine and ten.

There is an all-new front row of Kemsley Mathias, Daf Hughes and Sam Wainwright - who will make his first Scarlets start - Vaea Fifita and Sam Lousi are again named in the second row, while in the back row, Sione Kalamafoni gets the nod at No.8 in place of Carwyn Tuipulotu, who is included among the replacements.

Steff Thomas, Taylor Davies, Harri O’Connor, Dane Blacker and Dan Jones come onto the bench, as does 20-year-old centre Eddie James, who will make his URC debut if he takes the field.

Head coach Dwayne Peel said: “We are delighted to have topped our Challenge Cup pool, but now it’s about turning our focus to four tough URC matches, starting with the Bulls on Friday night. They bring a lot of physicality, especially up front and have a set-piece that can go after you and wheels on the edge as well. They are a top-four side so it is a good challenge for us.”


Scarlets team to play Vodacom Bulls at Parc y Scarlets on Friday, January 27 (19:35 UK time; BBC Wales & Viaplay)

15 Johnny McNicholl; 14 Steff Evans, 13 Joe Roberts, 12 Ioan Nicholas, 11 Ryan Conbeer; 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Kemsley Mathias, 2 Daf Hughes, 3 Sam Wainwright, 4 Vaea Fifita, 5 Sam Lousi, 6 Aaron Shingler (capt), 7 Dan Davis, 8 Sione Kalamafoni.


Replacements: 16 Taylor Davies, 17 Steff Thomas, 18 Harri O’Connor, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Carwyn Tuipulotu, 21 Dane Blacker, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Eddie James.


Unavailable because of injury

Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams, Shaun Evans, WillGriff John, Ryan Elias, Josh Macleod, Blade Thomson, Tom Rogers, Corey Baldwin, Alex Jeffries, Phil Price, Tom Price, Johnny Williams, Callum Williams, Samson Lee.

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