Llanelli coach Gareth Jenkins has spotted a weakness in the French psyche
which he hopes to expose when the Scarlets travel to Heineken Cup opponents Perpignan tomorrow (Friday) night - as they take their first step towards a 'winner takes all' clash with Leicester at Stradey Park the following week.
The Welsh/Scottish league leaders make only one change of personnel for the
crunch European clash from the team that beat Bridgend to retain pole
position in the domestic competition last weekend.
Leigh Davies moves to the bench after a winter cold affected his preparations during the week and Salesi Finau moves from wing to centre.
Veteran wing Wayne Proctor returns to the side to cover the right wing and
Mark Jones moves to the wing vacated by Finau.
Club captain Scott Quinnell has also been declared fit again after a slight
twinge to his hamstring forced him to miss the win at the Brewery Field, but
he also starts the match on the bench.
However, Jenkins is optimistic about the Scarlets' chances in Perpignan
after beating them at Stradey Park earlier this season and with an
impressive away record in France already under his belt.
"If French clubs do have a weakness, and there is probably only one, then it is their temperament," said Jenkins.
"Perpignan are capable of playing an impressive and penetrative style of
rugby and it is going to be up to us to unsettle them.
"If we can beat Perpignan this weekend it really sets up the clash with
Leicester at Stradey Park the following Saturday.
"It's going to be a case of winner takes all in the group and this is a big
fortnight for Llanelli Rugby Club. It could really make or break our
season, but all we can think about at the moment is the task that faces us
"We have to do everything we can to defeat them. We must keep our nerve, try
to affect their confidence and keep the ball as much as possible."
LLANELLI: Garan Evans; Wayne Proctor, Neil Boobyer, Salesi Finau, Mark
Jones; Stephen Jones (Capt), Dwayne Peel; Martyn Madden, Robin McBryde, John
Davies, Luke Gross, Chris Wyatt, Simon Easterby, Dafydd Jones, Dave Hodges
REPLACEMENTS: Phil Booth, Marcus Thomas, Vernon Cooper, Scott Quinnell, Guy Easterby, Gareth Bowen, Leigh Davies
Wales U20 duo Leon Brown and Lloyd Lewis face a busy couple of weeks ahead. Not only will they have a Junior World Championship to take part in, they are both sitting A Level exams during the competition.
Wales U20 face a tough group in the Junior World Championship with France, England and Japan lying in wait but Attack coach Jason Strange and back rower Tom Phillips are looking forward to the campaign ahead.
Angus O'Brien has quickly settled into the Wales Sevens squad after solid performances in Hong Kong and Japan. With two rounds remaining in Glasgow and Twickenham on the World Series, WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie chats to the rising star.
Wales winger Luke Morgan has established himself as one of the deadliest finishers on the Sevens World Series. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie catches up with him on the eve of this weekend's round in Glasgow.
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.