Preview: Clermont Auvergne v Scarlets

The Scarlets have been forced to omit skipper Simon Easterby for Sunday’s opening Heineken Cup clash against Clermont Auvergne at the Stade Marcel Michelin.

Easterby has bruising to an arm while Welsh winger Mark Jones has also been ruled out due to a slight knee injury.

Phil Davies, Scarlets Director of Rugby, was not prepared to risk either Easterby or Jones with such an important period of rugby coming up.

“Our selection for the match against Clermont Auvergne has been made with the bigger picture in mind,” Davies said.

“We have a lot of important games between now and Christmas. Both injuries aren’t serious but we didn’t want to run the risk of playing them and them getting a bang which would have put them out for a further two or three weeks. Hopefully the injuries would have cleared up within 7 to 10 days.”

Morgan Stoddart returns to full back in place of Daniel Evans while Matthew Watkins comes in for the injured Jones. Regan King and Gavin Evans continue their partnership in the centres.

In the pack Deacon Manu comes in at tighthead for Bruce Douglas who moves to the bench while Gavin Thomas gets a start on the side of the scrum in Easterby’s absence.

Young fly-half Rhys Priestland has to settle for a place on the bench having impressed so much in the opening games of the Magners League. His place goes to Wales fly-half Stephen Jones, who is partnered at half-back by Dwayne Peel, who will also captain the side.

More to follow…

The Teams:

Clermont Auvergne: tbc

Scarlets: 15 Morgan Stoddart, 14 Dafydd James, 13 Regan King, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Matthew Watkins, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Dwayne Peel (c), 8 Alix Popham, 7 Gavin Thomas, 6 James Bater, 5 Scot MacLeod, 4 Vernon Cooper, 3 Deacon Manu, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Iestyn Thomas.
Replacements: 16 James Hayter, 17 Bruce Douglas, 18 Adam Eustace, 19 Dafydd Jones, 20 Gavin Cattle, 21 Rhys Priestland, 22 Garan Evans.

Date: Sunday November 11, 2007
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Venue: Stade Marcel Michelin
Referee: Chris White (England)
Touch judges: Ashley Rowden (England), Paul Dix (England)

365 Digital

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