Scarlets v Northampton LV Cup Semifinal Preview

The Scarlets will play Northampton Saints for the third time this season in this weekend’s Anglo Welsh LV= Cupsemi-final at Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday.


Northampton Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that the Northampton Saints players are excited by the prospect of playing the Scarlets.


It is the Saints’ third Anglo-Welsh semi-final in the past four seasons, and while it is the first tournament meeting between the sides since November 2008 Sunday’s game will be the third time the Saints and Scarlets will have clashed in 2011/12.


So far it is one win apiece, with each side coming out on top on opposition turf. But with a place in the first final of 2012 at stake Mallinder says there is plenty of incentive for the Saints to step things up this weekend.


“This weekend is a semi-final. It’s exciting and a chance to win something,” he said this week.


“We’ve got a home draw, but we’ve played Scarlets at home already this season and lost, so we’ve got to be on our guard.


“They’re a successful side with players who like to play expansive rugby. They’re well coached and while they like to put the ball through the hands they’ve got some good forwards as well.


“But if we play well we can win and get through to the final. Looking at the forecast it’s looking like it’s going to be dry and we’re looking forward to playing some rugby.”


The Scarlets make one change of personnel in their starting line-up that won against Connacht (38-10) last weekend, with Dominic Day coming into the second row, Aaron Shingler moves to the back row with Josh Turnbull and Kieran Murphy. J


Jonathan Edwards failed a late fitness test due to a calf strain.


Scarlets Head of Rugby, Nigel Davies said: “This is one of our three competitions we’re still in the battle to win and that’s we are where we want to be – in the play-off stages. The more this group experience this type of intense rugby, the better.


“The vast majority of our Scarlets team on Sunday will not have been in this type of scenario before and they are eager and ambitious to prove themselves as a group.


“This game provides these with a great opportunity to go to Northampton and show what they can do, a lot of our emerging players have really pushed the more established players in our squad this season and so it is a great chance for them now on a bigger semi-final stage.”


“We have a lot of respect for the quality that Northampton bring, they will look to dominate up front and particularly at set-piece. They’ve come back strongly from the start of the season and will be fired up for this game on the back of our last meeting at their home and they’ll have less disruption in terms of squad international commitments than us.


Match : Scarlets vs Northampton Saints
Date : Sunday 11th March
Venue : Franklin’s Gardens
Kick off : 1pm


Northampton


15 Paul Diggin, 14 Vasily Artemyev, 13 George Pisi, 12 Tom May, 11 Scott Armstrong, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Martin Roberts, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Calum Clark (capt), 5 Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Paul Doran-Jones, 2 Andy Long, 1 Alex Waller


Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Soane Tonga’uiha, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Ryan Glynn, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 James Downey.


Scarlets


15 Dan Newton, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Gareth Maule (capt), 12 Adam Warren, 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Liam Davies, 1 Rhodri Jones 2 Emyr Phillips , 3 Deacon Manu, 4 Lou Reed, 5 Dominic Day, 6 Aaron Shingler, 7 Josh Turnbull, 8 Kieran Murphy.


Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Phil John, Peter Edwards, Sione Timani, Matt Gilbert, Gareth Davies, Nick Reynolds, Iongi Viliame.

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