Scar­lets seek boost from re­turn­ing trio

Llanelli Star - - Sport - Robert Lloyd [email protected]­i­tymir­ 01792 545559

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.

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