The Scarlets travel to Munster this weekend for their third round of the RaboDirect PRO12 league to take on the current champions with a formidable home record of 12 consecutive home wins.
The Scarlets have made four changes to the starting line-up that narrowly lost out to Connacht away last weekend in Galway.
Yet another young Scarlet gets handed a big opportunity early in the season away in Munster with 19 year-old full-back Dale Ford getting a start at 15 in the Scarlets shirt.
Ford, a shining example of the Scarlets development pathway, was born and bred in the region and a product of the Scarlets Academy. He has played previously with Burry Port, then Llanelli RFC and has honours at international age grade with Wales U18 and was selected for last season’s Wales U20 squad.
Andy Fenby returns from injury back on the wing and Wales U20 hooker Kirby Myhill starts with Emyr Phillips on the bench and Lou Reed comes back into the second row alongside Dominic Day. The strong back row combination of Morgan, Turnbull and McCusker remains unchanged.
The Scarlets are ready for a tough challenge against a Munster side that have beaten them in their last 11 encounters.
Head Coach Nigel Davies said: “We were very disappointed that we lost last weekend in a game that for the large part we were in control of. We created plenty of opportunities – which we’re always capable of doing; but we lacked cohesion and communication as a side and as a result of that we didn’t take the chances to seal the win.
“I thought our forwards went well again and that will be key out in Munster, and our set piece has performed well. We are challenging well in games and have shown that we’re competitive – the responsibility rests on our young backs now to really gel; they’re talented and gifted players, but we have to communicate better as team.
“We have to go to Munster with confidence that we can play and win this game, we’ve shown we are competitive and all our recent games against them have been tight. They have a great belief and mental attitude that they can close out games and that is something we have focused on and will need to bring to get a result on Saturday.”
Scarlets team against Munster, Saturday 17th September 7.45pm kick off Musgrave Park: 15 Dale Ford, 14 Lee Williams, 13 Rhodri Gomer Davies 12 Gareth Maule, 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Dan Newton, 9 Ruki Tipuna, 1 Iestyn Thomas (capt), 2 Kirby Myhill, 3 Rhys Thomas, 4 Lou Reed, 5 Dominic Day, 6 Rob McCusker, 7 Josh Turnbull, 8 Ben Morgan.
Replacements: Emyr Phillips, Phil John, Rhodri Jones, Aaron Shingler, Johnathan Edwards, Gareth Davies, Aled Thomas, Lee Rees.
Not available for selection through injury: Daniel Evans, full back (broken finger), Aled Davies, scrum half (knee) and Nick Reynolds, centre (ankle).
Scarlets captain Iestyn Thomas will play his 200th appearance for the Scarlets against Munster and fellow prop Phil John played his 200th appearance against Connacht last week.
The Scarlets will soon celebrate a major landmark in their history as they play their 5000th match at a showcase game at Parc y Scarlets against Leinster in the RaboDirect PRO12 league on Saturday 24th September 2011 kick off 6.30pm.