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The Four Welsh Regions are in action against English clubs in the final rounds of the LV=Cup with the contest for semi-final places reaching its finale this weekend.

Last weekend saw nine players across the four Regions enjoying their Regional senior debuts – with 32 players from the Welsh Pro sides aged 21 or under taking part.  This weekend is no different as the LV=Cup continues to be a competition that champions the development of rugby’s next generation with opportunities handed to wider squad members.

On Saturday, Scarlets travel to Sale (kick off 2pm), with the Blues at home to Leicester Tigers at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park (kick off 2.30pm), the Ospreys travel to the Rec to face Bath (kick off 3pm) and on Sunday the Newport Gwent Dragons host London Welsh (kick off 2.30pm).


Cardiff Blues make five changes to the starting line-up as the region faces a make or break LV=Cup shootout with Leicester Tigers at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.

Blues currently top Pool 2 with an undefeated record after victories over Newcastle Falcons, Scarlets and Wasps and victory on home soil this weekend will guarantee them a semi-final spot.

However, Leicester Tigers also top their pool and arrive in Cardiff also determined to cement a place in the final four.

Blues make just one change in the pack as Lou Reed is recalled in the second row to partner Miles Normandale, who this week agreed a new two-year contract at the region.

A new-look half back pairing will see Gareth Davies and Tavis Knoyle combine. Geraint Walsh is named at full back, with Argentine Joaquin Tuculet moving into the centre to join forces with Adam Thomas. The final change sees a call-up for winger Owen Jenkins.

Blues Skills Coach Lee Jarvis said: “Ultimately you play the game to challenge for trophies; it’s what you want as players and coaches. We have the opportunity to do just that by booking a place in the semi-finals of the LV=Cup. Leicester will also want a home semi-final so we’ve got to be at our very best and go all out for the win. It’s all set up to be a great game”

Cardiff Blues: 15 Geraint Walsh, 14 Owen Jenkins, 13 Joaquin Tuculet, 12 Adam Thomas, 11 Lucas Amorosino, 10 Gareth Davies, 9 Tavis Knoyle; 1 Thomas Davies, 2 Rhys Williams, 3 Craig Mitchell, 4 Miles Normandale, 5 Lou Reed, 6 Macauley Cook, 7 Ellis Jenkins (c), 8 James Sheekey.

Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Taufa’ao Filise, 19 Ben Roach, 20 Craig Lodge, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Jack Phillips


A young and eager Scarlets team take centre-stage and hope to warm and win the hearts and souls of the West Wales Region in chilly Sale. With an average age of 23 in the Scarlets team and a host of young talent on the bench there are five players under 21 in the starting XV all looking to impress: Aaron Warren, Ben Leung, Jack Payne (first start), Sion Bennett and first time Scarlets skipper Rhodri Williams (21) who will lead the region this weekend.

There’s a debut for loose head prop Rhys Thomas and three Scarlets Academy players featuring in the squad; Josh Middleton (19), Javan Sebastian (20) and Torin Myhill (19) on the bench.

Having secured a 28-17 victory over London Irish, in last weekend’s home clash, the Scarlets will be looking for a strong performance in the last pool game to continue with the winning momentum as they prepare for an all-important Guinness PRO12 clash against Connacht next weekend.

The Warren brothers, Adam (23) and Aaron (21) line up in the centre and on the wing respectively with Carmarthen Quins’ Iolo Evans and Llanelli’s Kyle Evans at outside centre and on the right wing.

Llanelli RFC loosehead prop Rhys Thomas makes his regional debut alongside Darran Harris and Ben Leung on the front row whilst Aussie newcomer Jack Payne will make his first start for the Scarlets alongside Shaun Jones in the second row. Llanelli’s Roy Osborn is joined by Sion Bennett and Rory Pitman in the back row.

Former Scarlets winger and Wales 7s Commonwealth Games player Lee Williams makes a return to regional colours offering experience from the bench and is joined by exciting Scarlets Academy young guns Josh Middleton, Torin Myhill and Javan Sebastian.

Speaking ahead of the clash against Sale Sharks on Saturday Scarlets’ LV= Cup group coach Ioan Cunningham said: “We will have an opportunity on Saturday to see some players in our development pathway and feeder clubs.

“There are a lot of very good players in Carmarthen, Llandovery and Llanelli and Saturday will be about looking at the best of the crop and giving them an opportunity. They all deserve an opportunity to show what they can do at the higher level and that’s what we’re looking to do this week.

15 Kristian Phillips, 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Iolo Evans, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Aaron Warren, 10 Frazier Climo, 9 Rhodri Williams, 1 Rhys Thomas, 2 Darran Harris, 3 Ben Leung, 4 Jack Payne, 5 Shaun Jones, 6 Roy Osborn, 7 Sion Bennett, 8 Rory Pitman

 Replacements; Torin Myhill, Jacobie Adriaanse, Javan Sebastian, Josh Middleton, Ellis Lloyd, Justin James, Lee Williams, Richard Williams


The Ospreys face Bath at the Recreation Ground and a big test awaits the Ospreys youngsters who are handed opportunities to hold onto their positions with strong performances against the big English club. The team is supported some key experience in the match day 23.

Head Coach, Steve Tandy, said: We know what to expect from Bath. Its a great club with real history, and theres a sell out crowd for this game. Whatever team they send out we know that we will have to perform well as they have enviable strength in depth.

For us its about preparing well this week and going to the Rec focused on performance, knowing that we have to be clinical in everything we do.

Weve got some crucial games coming up over the next five or six weeks that will shape how the end of season run-in plays out. These boys have a huge part to play in deciding our fate so they know there is pressure and expectation on their shoulders to ensure that they continue the good work done in the PRO12 to date, to keep us well placed in the play-off push. 

15 Richard Fussell; 14 Tom Grabham; 13 Jonathan Spratt (Capt); 12 Josh Matavesi; 11 Aisea Natoga; 10 Sam Davies; 9 Martin Roberts; 1 Marc Thomas; 2 Scott Otten; 3 Cai Griffiths; 4 Tevita Cavubati; 5 Rhodri Hughes; 6 Olly Cracknell; 7 Sam Lewis; 8 Joe Bearman

Replacements: 16 Matthew Dwyer; 17 Duncan Jones; 18 Daniel Suter; 19 Tyler Ardron; 20 Ieuan Jones; 21 Tom Habberfield; 22 Ben John; 23 Hanno Dirksen


Newport Gwent Dragons centre Pat Leach will make his first appearance of the season against London Welsh on Sunday 8th February, KO 14:30. The influential centre has been out of action since suffering a knee injury during a pre-season friendly against Northampton Saints.

The 29-year-old has been named amongst 13 changes and one positional change to the side that faced table toppers Exeter Chiefs last weekend at Rodney Parade.

Tom Prydie moves from wing to fullback as Matthew Pewtner returns to the back three alongside wing Ashton Hewitt. The centre partnership consists of Pat Leach, who makes his return from injury, and Ashley Smith who retains his place from last weekend. Angus O’Brien steps up to take on the role of fly half and Luc Jones gets his first start of the 2014/15 season as scrum-half.

The front row is all change as props Phil Price and Brok Harris get the nod; they are joined by Thomas Rhys Thomas who starts as hooker. The second row consists of Andrew Coombs who is joined by South-African skipper Rynard Landman. Lewis Evans returns in the back row as flanker and joins young gun James Benjamin who retains his place. Nick Crosswell makes the move from flanker to number 8 to complete the back row.

Tom Prydie, Matthew Pewtner, Pat Leach, Ashley Smith, Ashton Hewitt, Angus O’Brien, Luc Jones; Phil Price, Thomas Rhys Thomas, Brok Harris, Andrew Coombs, Rynard Landman (c), Lewis Evans, James Benjamin, Nick Crosswell.

Replacements: Rhys Buckley, Boris Stankovich, Dan Way, Ian Gough, Scott Matthews, Richie Rees, Jason Tovey, Jack Dixon.