Scarlets seek boost from returning trio
THE Scarlets are hoping to welcome back Wales internationals Leigh Halfpenny, Rob Evans and James Davies for their derby-day battle against the Ospreys.
With Wayne Pivac’s side without a win in their last three matches, the return of such influential performers will be a timely boost heading into the festive campaign, which starts at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday afternoon (3pm).
Halfpenny, who turns 30 on Saturday, hasn’t played since suffering a blow to the head from a late hit against Australia in the second round of Wales’s autumn series.
Evans (ankle) and Davies (toe) sat out last weekend’s Champions Cup loss to Ulster in Belfast — Davies picked up the injury in his first game back since recovering from knee ligament damage.
Former Ospreys centre Kieron Fonotia is also on course to be available, increasing Pivac’s midfield options.
“Leigh’s done some work over the weekend and progressed really well,” said Pivac.
“His goal-kicking is its usual standard and he’s ticking all the boxes. So he’s on track to be available.
“Rob Evans and James Davies are in really good shape. They will take part in some of the training with a view of being fully fit by Thursday, so hopefully that will be some good news.
“Kieron Fonotia has progressed really well and Ed Kennedy will train this week.
“There’s some light at the end of the tunnel.
“Long term, Aaron Shingler, Jonathan Evans and Blade Thomson: those guys are still a wee way off, but it is improving.”
After their early exit from Europe, the Scarlets will focus on cementing their play-off position in Conference B of the Guinness PRO14.
They currently sit in joint second place in the standings, alongside Ulster, but 15 points adrift of defending champions Leinster.
James Davies is tackled by Ulster’s Billy Burns in their Champions Cup clash at Parc y Scarlets on December 7.