The Scarlets have a new look to their line-up for their LV= Cup clash against Sale Sharks, with the foundation of experienced players mixed with wider young talent from across the region.
With 26 of their squad not available for selection through injury or management and international duty at senior, Wales U20 and Wales 7’s levels; the Scarlets will give opportunities to some new faces from the region eager to step up and show their potential in a Scarlets shirt.
Exciting young fly-half Owen Williams, 20, who has impressed for Premiership feeder club partner Llanelli RFC this season particularly in controlling the club’s last two victories over Gala and Moseley (23 points in two games) gets his opportunity with experienced and versatile Scarlets back Gareth Owen moving to full-back.
It’s a first start for back-row Lewis Rawlins and a fresh opportunity for another Llanelli RFC back row forward, Duane Eager as well as young star of the U20 Wales World Cup prop Rob Evans on the bench along with 21-year-old wing Dale Ford.
Experienced centre Gareth Maule captains the team alongside Adam Warren in centre partnership who put in impressive performances for the region last season and had a starring role in the Scarlets’ clash against Clermont last weekend.
Meanwhile, the Sharks welcome back Dwayne Peel after injury and the side also includes Scottish Six Nations squad members Alasdair Dickinson and Richie Vernon.
Dan Braid starts at flanker having had to sit out the last two weeks as he was not registered for the Heineken Cup.
There is also a welcome return for Henry Thomas who has been out with a leg injury since September. Henry is named among the replacements but is sure to get a run during the game
Form: Sale Sharks have recorded just one victory in their last nine matches in all competitions: 33-27 at home to Worcester Warriors in the Premiership on 28 December. Sale’s last four fixtures in the LV= Cup have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst the Sharks have won just two of their seven previous clashes with Welsh regions in this competition. Scarlets’ only win in their last eight games in all competitions was 9-6 over Cardiff Blues in the PRO12 on 21 December. The Welshmen have lost their last three matches against Premiership opponents in the LV= Cup, whilst their most recent victory in England in the tournament came at London Irish on 14 November 2010. The two teams have met on three previous occasions in the Anglo-Welsh Cup with all games being won by the home side on the day and with Sale having the slight edge by two wins to one.
Sale: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Rob Miller, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Charlie Amesbury, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Richie Vernon, 7 David Seymour (capt), 6 Dan Braid, 5 Tom Holmes, 4 Kearnan Myall, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Fraser Mckenzie, 20 James Doyle, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Jordan Davies, 23 Charlie Ingall.
Scarlets: 15 Gareth Owen, 14 Kristian Phillips, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Kieran Murphy, 7 Duane Eager, 6 Lewis Rawlins, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Deacon Manu, 2 Emyr Phillips, 1 Rhodri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Peter Edwards, 19 Richard Kelly, 20 Tomas Vallejos, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Nick Reynolds, 23 Dale Ford
Date: Saturday, January 26
Venue: Salford City Stadium
Referee: Ian Tempest (England)
Assistant referees: Paul Dix (England), Robin Goodliffe (England)
Television match official: Graham Hughes (England)
Timekeeper: Tony Turner (England)
Assessor: Brian Campsall (England)