Heineken Champions Cup: Ken Owens leads Scarlets in last-16 tie against Sale


Ken Owens has played 82 internationals for Wales and two tests for the British and Irish Lions
Ken Owens has played 82 internationals for Wales and two tests for the British and Irish Lions
Venue: Parc y Scarlets Date: Sunday, 4 April Kick-off: 17:30 BST
Coverage: Live BBC Radio Wales commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. Live score updates on the BBC Sport website.

Wales hooker Ken Owens leads Scarlets for the Heineken Champions Cup last-16 tie against Sale but British and Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies is only named as a replacement.

Owens and Davies are among nine members of Wales’ Six Nations title-winning side in Scarlets’ 23-man squad.

Sale include World Cup-winning scrum-half Faf de Klerk and England flanker Tom Curry in their line-up.

Prop WillGriff John is included before his move to Scarlets next season.

Lock Josh Beaumont returns to action and captains Sharks in the absence of Jono Ross. Springbok second-row Lood de Jager is not included.

For Scarlets, Davies has been overlooked for centres Johnny Williams and Steff Hughes, while Wales wing Johnny McNicholl has recovered from injury to join Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams in an all-international back three.

Gareth Davies, Wyn Jones, Jake Ball and Ryan Elias also return from international duty, while Scotland flanker Blade Thomson has recovered from concussion to be named among the replacements.

The winners of this tie will set up a quarter-final with Gloucester or La Rochelle.

Scarlets head coach Glenn Delaney: “Sale are a very good team and very physical as you would expect with their South African influence, they have some world-class and big-game performers.

“It’s been great to have the Wales internationals back after their Six Nations success. We’re also three wins from our last four matches, so there has been a buzz about the place this week.”

Sale head coach Alex Sanderson: “We’re not going there to make up the numbers. We’re going down there with a purpose; we’re going down to do a job and that job is to qualify for the next round of the competition.

“Sale haven’t been this far in the Heineken Cup for 15 years so it’s new territory for these boys, but we’ve got some big-game players and they know how to step it up in terms of their intensity and physicality, whilst keeping their composure. It’s the closest you get to international rugby, so it’s brilliant for the club.”

Scarlets: Halfpenny; L Williams, Hughes, J Williams, McNicholl; D Jones, G Davies; W Jones, Owens (capt), Scholtz, Ball, Lousi, Shingler, J Morgan, Kalamafoni.

Replacements: Elias, S Thomas, Sebastian, Rawlins, Thomson, Blacker, Costelow, J Davies.

Sale: Hammersley; McGuigan, S James, Janse van Rensburg, Yarde; AJ MacGinty, De Klerk; Rodd, Van der Merwe, John, Wiese, Beaumont (capt), JL du Preez, T Curry, D du Preez.

Replacements: Langdon, Harrison, Oosthuizen, Phillips, Neild, Quirke, R du Preez, L James.

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)

Assistants: Dan Jones (Wales), Mike English (Wales).

TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (France).

BBC News