Print Friendly, PDF & Email

It’s a big weekend of rugby in Wales with all four pro teams in derby action in the Anglo-Welsh Cup with the Dragons hosting Scarlets at Rodney Parade and Cardiff Blues against Ospreys in the capital.

All four teams will be looking forward to the hotly contested derby clashes after losing out in the first round of the Anglo-Welsh competition against England’s Premiership clubs.

DRAGONS

Dragons return home to Rodney Parade on Friday night for the Anglo-Welsh Cup as they take on Scarlets (KO 19:30). Twelve of the match-day squad have come through the Dragons’ regional pathway, with the side once again featuring a mixture of youth and experience.

“They need exposure and this is definitely a level up from the Premiership and British and Irish Cup,” said Head Coach Bernard Jackman about the youngster involved this weekend.

“Some of the scores in the Anglo-Welsh Cup are heavy but in general it’s a really good opportunity to give players a chance. The only way that Welsh youngsters will get to the level of the English kids is through more exposure and this competition gives us an avenue to get to that.”

Angus O’Brien is named in the back three at full-back, as Joe Goodchild moves to the wing along with Jared Rosser. Last weekend’s try-scorer Joe Thomas retains his place in the centre as he is partnered with Adam Warren. Arwel Robson remains in the fly-half position as Dan Babos get the nod as scrum-half and makes his debut for the Dragons.

18-year-old Josh Reynolds makes his senior Dragons debut in the front row as he packs down with fellow prop Lloyd Fairbrother and hooker Gerard Ellis. The second row sees Joe Davies selected alongside Matthew Screech whilst the back row has one change made to it as Ollie Griffiths returns from injury to captain the side, joining Ben Roach and Huw Worthington.

The replacements bench sees Brok Harris joined by Ellis Shipp, Sam Hobbs, Rynard Landman, James Benjamin, Callum Morris, who is currently on trial with the Dragons following his inclusion in the Wales U18s squad for South Africa during the Summer, Gavin Henson and Connor Edwards.

Dragons team to face Scarlets: 15 Angus O’Brien, 14 Jared Rosser, 13 Joe Thomas, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Joe Goodchild, 10 Arwel Robson, 9 Dan Babos; 1 Josh Reynolds, 2 Gerard Ellis, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 4 Joe Davies, 5 Matthew Screech, 6 Ben Roach, 7 Ollie Griffiths ©, 8 Huw Worthington.

Replacements; Ellis Shipp, Sam Hobbs, Brok Harris, Rynard Landman, James Benjamin, Callum Morris, Gavin Henson, Connor Edwards.

SCARLETS

Scarlets have named an exciting young side to take on Dragons at Rodney Parade with two Scarlets Academy prospects, fullback Tomi Lewis and flanker Dan Davis, getting their first Scarlets starts.

The side, packed full of the region’s young homegrown talent, will take on the Dragons before focus returns to the Guinness PRO14 and the region’s trip to South Africa.

Scarlets Anglo-Welsh Cup head coach Euros Evans said; “The focus of this competition for us is the region’s development and the opportunity given to young players to perform on the next level.

“The Anglo-Welsh Cup bridges the gap between the Premiership, that these boys play in week in week out, and the Guinness PRO14 which is where they should all be aiming to reach.

“The young players will cherish the opportunity to represent the Scarlets and it’s very exciting to see young Academy players like Tomi Lewis and Dan Davis getting their first starts for the region.”

Scarlets team to take on Dragons at Rodney Parade, Friday 17th November, kick-off 7.30pm; 15 Tomi Lewis (Scarlets Academy), 14 Morgan Griffiths (Carmarthen Quins), 13 Rhodri Jones (Llandovery), 12 Billy McBryde, 11 Thomas Rogers (Scarlets Academy), 10 Jack Maynard, 9 Lee Rees (Llandovery), 1 Steffan Thomas (Scarlets Academy), 2 Torin Myhill (Carmarthen Quins), 3 Javan Sebastian, 4 Josh Helps, 5 Jack Jones (Llandovery), 6 Stuart Worrall (Llandovery), 7 Dan Davis (Scarlets Academy), 8 Tom Phillips ©

Replacements; Steffan Phillips (Carmarthen Quins), Craig Thomas (Llanelli), Scott Jenkins (Scarlets Academy), Christian Long (Llanelli), Joseph Powell (Llandovery), Gareth George (Llanelli), Scott Lloyd (Scarlets Academy), Dale Ford (Carmarthen Quins)

CARDIFF BLUES

Gareth Anscombe will make his long-awaited return from injury during Cardiff Blues’ Anglo Welsh Cup clash against the Ospreys at Cardiff Arms Park on Friday (KO 7.15pm).

The Welsh international is one of seven changes made from last week’s heavy defeat to Newcastle Falcons in the opening round of the cross-border competition.

Anscombe, who scored during last season’s Judgement Day win over Steve Tandy’s side, links up with Lewis Jones at half back, who replaces Dane Blacker in the starting XV.

The other change in the backline sees Steven Shingler slot in at inside centre, partnering Owen Lane in midfield. Tom James, Harri Millard and Rhun Williams retain their places in the side to make up the outside backs.

Four changes are made in the pack, including captain Gethin Jenkins, who returned from a lengthy injury spell during the bonus point win over Zebre a fortnight ago, and continues his comeback.

Kirby Myhill is the other change in the front row, while Damian Welch and Macauley Cook are also reintroduced in the pack.

Richard Hodges, who takes charge of the side for the Anglo Welsh Cup campaign, is looking forward to a Friday night derby in the capital city and is excited by the mix of experience and youth included in his side.

“We have more than half an eye on Connacht next week, so we’ll select what our side is there and see which players need rugby and want to integrate some of the youngsters,” said Hodges.

“What you will see this weekend is two very competitive, and I predict very close, derbies. Teams will pick like-for-like.

“We like the look of our side. It’s a real good mix of experience and youth. There are some boys who have had a long time out with injury who will be coming back for some capped game-time, and more boys who will be making their debut for the region, so it will be a good day for them as well.

“We’re at home, in a Welsh derby, with a strong spine to our side and we’re excited.”

Cardiff Blues academy’s Max Llewellyn and Cardiff RFC’s Luke Crocker could make their regional debuts off the bench if they are called into action.

Cardiff Blues: Rhun Williams; Harri Millard, Owen Lane, Steven Shingler, Tom James; Gareth Anscombe, Lewis Jones; Gethin Jenkins (C), Kirby Myhill, Anton Peikrishvili, George Earle, Damian Welch, Macauley Cook, Sion Bennett, Shane Lewis-Hughes

Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Rhys Carre, Keiron Assiratti, Ben Murphy, Luke Crocker, Dane Blacker, Ben Thomas, Max Llewellyn

OSPREYS

After a hard fought game against Wasps last weekend, the Ospreys have rewarded a number of their up and coming young players with selection against the Cardiff Blues.

Ospreys Head Coach, Steve Tandy, said: “Any game against the Blues is always something to get excited about with traditional rivalries to the fore, regardless of the competition, and we are expecting a real test on Friday night.

“It’s good to see that so many of the youngsters involved last weekend against Wasps put their hands up and earn selection this week on merit. They’ve got a chance now to stake a claim for a place in the line-up when we go back to the PRO14 next week.

“There’s a good mix involved for this game, with some senior boys who will form the core of the group for the Glasgow and Munster games getting time on the field to get up to speed. There’ll be some new combinations, we are looking forward to seeing how it goes, particularly on a fast track that will encourage both teams to play an expansive game.

“It should be a cracking contest, one that supporters will really enjoy, a great opportunity for us to get some momentum again ahead of a tough couple of PRO14 matches off the back of it.”

The Ospreys team to play Cardiff Blues at Cardiff Arms Park on Friday 17th November 2017, KO 7.15pm, is as follows: 15 James Hook; 14 Dafydd Howells; 13 Tom Williams; 12 Kieran Williams; 11 Jay Baker; 10 Luke Price (Capt); 9 Reuben Morgan-Williams; 1 Gareth Thomas; 2 Scott Baldwin; 3 Rhodri Jones; 4 James Ratti 5 Rory Thornton; 6 Guy Mercer; 7 Will Jones; 8 Rob McCusker

Replacements: 16 Ifan Phillips; 17 Rowan Jenkins; 18 Alex Jeffries; 19 Bradley Davies; 20 Morgan Morris; 21 Matthew Aubrey; 22 Sam Davies; 23 Rhys Williams