United Rugby Championship: Scarlets v Lions (Fri)

WillGriff John
Prop WillGriff John spent four years with Sale Sharks before joining Scarlets in the summer
Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli Date: Friday, 1 October Time: 19:35 BST
Coverage: Scrum V Live, BBC Two Wales; BBC Radio Wales audio commentary on BBC Sport website & app, Highlights on Scrum V Sunday, BBC Two Wales and online,19:00 BST, and later on demand

Prop WillGriff John will make his first Scarlets start in the United Rugby Championship home match against Lions.

It is one of four changes made by head coach Dwayne Peel with Wales wing Tom Rogers, fly-half Sam Costelow and lock Jac Price also starting.

Scarlets second-rows Aaron Shingler (back) and Sam Lousi (knee) are missing through injury.

Wing Ryan Conbeer drops out of the squad, while Lee, Dan Jones and Morgan Jones are named on the replacements bench.

Flanker Tom Phillips is facing a long period out after suffering a serious knee injury against Edinburgh.

Josh Macleod (Achilles), Rhys Patchell (calf), James Davies (concussion), Leigh Halfpenny (knee), Johnny Williams (shoulder), Corey Baldwin (foot), Tomi Lewis (knee), Tom Prydie (foot), Carwyn Tuipulotu (finger) and Iestyn Rees (ankle) remain on the injury list.

Scarlets will be the first Welsh side to face South African opposition in the new URC with the Lions defeating Zebre last weekend.

“We are very excited,” said Peel.

“We have scouted the Lions through the Currie Cup and we took a lot from last week’s game versus Zebre.

“They were very impressive in the first half and punished Zebre every opportunity they got.

“The fact the four big South African franchises are in the URC is great for the league and we are looking forward to the challenge on Friday.”

Lions have named an unchanged squad.

“We appreciate Scarlets will pose a different challenge for us, but we are confident the players selected will once more aim for a positive result,” said Lions head coach Ivan van Rooyen.

“The team has prepared well in the lead-up to tomorrow, with a few productive planning sessions on and off the training field.

“Last week we spoke about momentum and that’s what we would like maintain from here onwards.”

Scarlets: Johnny McNicholl; Tom Rogers, Jonathan Davies (capt), Scott Williams, Steff Evans; Sam Costelow, Kieran Hardy; Rob Evans, Ryan Elias, WillGriff John, Jac Price, Tom Price, Blade Thomson, Dan Davis, Sione Kalamafoni.

Replacements: Marc Jones, Phil Price, Samson Lee, Morgan Jones, Shaun Evans, Dane Blacker, Dan Jones, Ioan Nicholas.

Lions: EW Viljoen; Jamba Ulengo, Wandisile Simelane, Burger Odendaal (capt), Rabz Maxwane; Jordan Hendrikse, Andre Warner; Ruan Dreyer, Jaco Visagie, Carlu Sadie, Ruben Schoeman, Pieter Jansen Van Vuren, Jaco Kriel, Vincent Tshituka, Francke Horn.

Replacements: PJ Botha, Sti Sithole, Asenathi Ntlabakanye, Reinhard Nothnagel, Sibusiso Sangweni, Morne van den Berg, Eddie Fouch, Divan Rossouw.

Referee: Andrea Piardi (FIR)

Assistants: Elgan Williams & Tom Spurrier (WRU)

TMO: Stefano Penne (FIR)

BBC News