Pro14: Scarlets v Cardiff Blues (Fri)


Josh Navidi and Jake Ball in action for Wales
Josh Navidi and Jake Ball have both been named in Wayne Pivac’s 2021 Six Nations squad
Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli Date: Friday, 22 January Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C; live BBC Radio Wales commentary on the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app

Wales trio Ken Owens, Jake Ball and Josh Navidi aim to prove their Six Nations fitness when Scarlets host Cardiff Blues in Friday’s Pro14 derby.

Scarlets second-row Jake Ball has recovered from a knee injury to start.

Hooker Ken Owens is a replacement after a three-month absence with a shoulder problem which ruled him out of the Autumn Nations Cup.

Navidi is included as a Blues replacement after not playing since August because of concussion.

Scarlets flanker Josh Macleod is the only uncapped player named by Wales coach Wayne Pivac, but has been ruled out of this game with a minor ankle problem.

Macleod was due to be directly up against James Botham, who was omitted after winning three Wales caps in the 2020 autumn campaign.

Ed Kennedy lines up at openside flanker with Scarlets also missing injured trio James Davies, Jac Morgan and Dan Davis.

Scarlets will be looking to avenge the 29-20 defeat against the same opposition two weeks ago with wing Johnny McNicholl replacing the suspended Liam Williams in the home backline.

Cardiff Blues back-rower Shane Lewis-Hughes, who was also overlooked for the Wales squad, has also been ruled out of the match.

This is interim director of rugby Dai Young’s first game in charge of Cardiff Blues in his second spell with the region since he took over from departed head coach John Mulvihill.

Young has made two changes with Alun Lawrence replacing Lewis-Hughes in the back-row and lock Seb Davies coming in for James Ratti.

Full-back Matthew Morgan will make his 100th Cardiff Blues appearance in an unchanged backline. Back-rower Josh Turnbull will make his 200th league appearance having played for both Cardiff Blues and Scarlets.

“They’re a quality outfit with a lot of experienced players in their squad, and they’ve had a few more coming back,” said Young.

“They’re well coached and have a good environment. They’ve been the top team in Wales for a number of seasons and won’t take kindly to us beating them a couple of weeks ago.

“We need to worry more about ourselves. It’s about the Blues addressing it in the same way as they did last time.

“We need to go out with real intent and take the game to them.”

Pro14 highlights: Cardiff Blues 29-20 Scarlets

Scarlets head coach Glenn Delaney welcomed Young back to Welsh rugby but insisted there will be no sentiment.

“It is great to have Dai back in the game, I have known him a long time and he is a good rugby man, a Cardiff man through and through,” said Delaney.

“We have caught up a couple of times and he is enjoying being back in the hot seat. They will be focusing on what they can bring to this contest and we are no different.

“We have learned a lot from the defeat and you can’t stand still, as long as we are taking things from the game that apply. We have another chance and we are looking forward to it.”

Scarlets: Leigh Halfpenny; Johnny McNicholl, Jonathan Davies (capt), Johnny Williams, Steff Evans; Dan Jones, Gareth Davies; Wyn Jones, Ryan Elias, Javan Sebastian, Jake Ball, Sam Lousi, Blade Thomson, Ed Kennedy, Sione Kalamafoni.

Replacements: Ken Owens, Phil Price, Werner Kruger, Tevita Ratuva, Uzair Cassiem, Kieran Hardy, Angus O’Brien, Steff Hughes.

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Josh Adams, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Hallam Amos; Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Corey Domachowski, Liam Belcher, Dmitri Arhip, Seb Davies, Cory Hill (capt), Josh Turnbull, James Botham, Alun Lawrence.

Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Rhys Carré, Dillon Lewis, Rory Thornton, Josh Navidi, Lloyd Williams, Ben Thomas, Aled Summerhill.

Referee: Adam Jones (WRU)

Assistant referees: Nigel Owens, Ben Whitehouse (both WRU)

TMO: Ian Davies (WRU).

BBC News