Scarlets vs Saracens Anglo Welsh Cup preview

Second-placed Aviva Premiership side Saracens visit Parc y Scarlets this Saturday afternoon in the Anglo Welsh LV=Cup to take on the Scarlets who also sit in second spot in the Magners League.

It’s the first time the English club has visited Parc y Scarlets with the teams only having come up against each other twice before in this competition. On both occasions the Scarlets sealed victories against Saracens in 2007/2008 season 36-32 and in 2009/2009 season 26-17.

The top of the two leagues clash will see a host of exciting young Scarlets talent take to the field with a mix of experience in the team from this season’s campaign. The Scarlets sit on the top of pool 3 in the LV=Cup with nine points having won their first two games in the competition against Leeds and London Irish. Saracens are second in pool two on two points.

Experienced Scarlets front rower, Phil John takes the captain’s armband with former Wales tighthead Rhys Thomas back from injury. The Scarlets have opted for plenty of flair and creativity in the backs including Dan Evans at full-back, with Lee Williams and the powerful Joe Ajuwa on the wing, Wales U20 fly-half Steven Shingler takes the prized Scarlets 10 jersey alongside experienced scrum-half Martin Roberts.

Scarlets Head Coach Nigel Davies said then blend of youth and experience would be an exciting prospect to watch at Saturday afternoon’s game.

“We’re really looking forward to this contest, there are some young players in this team that are eager to show what they can offer and in many ways it will be a showcase of the great potential we have in the region for the future.

“The next two games will see the next generation of Scarlets take centre stage and their development is important – if you think two or three years ago the players with Wales now like Jon Davies, Josh Turnbull, Rhys Priestland and Rob McCusker were in the same position some of these younger Scarlets are now.

“These boys are itching to get out there in front of a home crowd at Parc y Scarlets and do justice to the Scarlets jersey.

“It’s an opportunity for these developing players to step up at a big game like this against Saracens, but the group know they have to bring the same level of intensity, focus and desire to win as we do in every game of rugby. It’s not just about exposure to this level of rugby it’s about developing players into the mindset of producing winning performances.”

Meanwhile Matt Stevens is in line to make his Saracens debut for the club after being named on the bench for the clash at Parc y Scarlets.

Alex Goode also comes back into the side to start at fly-half after missing the past two weeks with injury. Owen Farrell switches to inside centre while Rodd Penney, just days after rejoining from Aironi, also starts. Kevin Barrett, Jamie George and Jared Saunders are among those also in the starting XV.

On the bench, Stevens gets the chance following 53 minutes for the Saracens Storm earlier in the week and Tom Ryder could also make his first appearance of 2010/11 after returning from a loan spell with Glasgow Warriors earlier in the season.

The Bookies have given  Saracens a 5 point start for this match so they have the Scarlets as the favourites.

Match : Llanelli Scarlets vs Saracens
Date : 29 January 2011
Venue : Parc y Scarlets
Kick Off : 1500


Scarlets : Daniel Evans, Lee Williams, Nick Reynolds, James Rheon, Joe Ajuwa, Steven Shingler, Martin Roberts, Phil John (capt) Emyr Phillips, Rhys Thomas, Dominic Day, Damian Welch, Aaron Shingler, Nic Cudd, Ben Morgan.

Replacements: Rhys Lawrence, Rhodri Jones, Dean Howells, Vernon Cooper, David Lyons, Gareth Davies, Jordan Williams, Ja

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