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Scarlets team announcement v Cardiff Blues

Guinness PRO12 Editor

5 May 2011


The Scarlets entertain their derby rivals from the Capital on Friday night for an exciting finale to the Magners League before teams secure their places in the semi-final top four play-off zone.

The hosts’ last home fixture of the season at Parc Y Scarlets (Friday 6th May, kick off 7.05pm) is expected to attract a five-figure crowd as the nail-biting finish to the league concludes with the Scarlets, Blues and Ospreys all still able to secure a play-off place. This will be the first time all the final sixth round matches are played at the same time.

Having kicked off strongly in the league, the Scarlets spent 12 consecutive weeks in the play-off zone. The now 6th placed Scarlets are reliant on other fixtures going their way but will want to finish on a high after a strong performance away in Glasgow with five tries, a bonus point win and qualification for Europe as one of the top placed three Welsh regions.

Head Coach Nigel Davies said: “All we are focusing on is the win; mathematically we still have a chance to go through but that’s not in our control. The key is we want to finish our season on the right note and with the right momentum. Our last result in Glasgow showed the progression we’ve made, there was a lot of pressure on us to get that win and we controlled the game well in the second half and played with composure.

“As we’ve said all season, we’ll be focusing on our own performance – all we can do is win and we want that as much if not more than the Blues. The players will be 100% focused and we want to put right our last performance here at Parc y Scarlets against Munster in front of our home crowd.

“It’s going to be a big ask against a physical Blues side full of internationals and they will be bitter after their loss to the Dragons. They’re in the driving seat in that if they win they will qualify so it’s going to be a big local derby game with both teams wanting to finish on a high.”

Wales and Scarlets outside half Stephen Jones takes the helm again in the pivotal role at 10, with Morgan Stoddart at full-back, George North and Scotland international Sean Lamont on the wings, Regan King and Scott Williams in centre partnership and Tavis Knoyle starting at scrum-half. Supporters will bid a fond farewell at Parc y Scarlets to Kiwi magician Regan King after six years in a Scarlets shirt.

Scarlets starting XV v Blues 6/05/2011, Parc y Scarlets kick-off 1905:

Morgan Stoddart, George North, Regan King, Scott Williams, Sean Lamont, Stephen Jones, Tavis Knoyle, Iestyn Thomas, Matthew Rees (capt), Rhys Thomas, Lou Reed, Dominic Day, Rob McCusker, Johnathan Edwards, Ben Morgan.

Replacements: Emyr Phillips, Phil John, Peter Edwards, David Lyons, Richie Pugh, Martin Roberts, Rhys Priestland, Lee Williams.

Stephen Jones said: “It’s going to be interesting with different styles of play at work and it’ll be a good challenge for both sides. We watch the Blues all season, so we know what a good side they are, they have some key players and regardless of their last result they’ll come here expecting to win. We have to focus on our game and keep our house in order.

"It's going to be a big Welsh derby against a very good side, the atmosphere will be great and the players know each other well. The Blues play a good brand of rugby and if the sun's shining it will make for an exciting, open game and a great way to conclude the season.

"From our perspective, it's been a vastly improved season compared to last year, we have upped our standards and performances. We want to be in the top four in the league, we are an ambitious side. A lot of hard work has gone in and that's evident from our performances this year, the squad has improved dramatically and there's a really good vibe down here and around our rugby region."

The Scarlets won 16-10 at Cardiff City Stadium in round six and are going for a first season's double over the Blues since 2008/2009.

Injured players not available for selection are: Gareth Maule (shoulder strain), Josh Turnbull (toe), Aaron Shingler (shoulder) and Jon Davies (dead leg).