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All four pro teams will be in action this weekend in Wales – with the 4th derby in a month on Sunday as Cardiff Blues take on Newport Gwent Dragons and just a fortnight to go before the big double-header derby contest Judgement Day IV at the Principality Stadium.

First up on Friday evening the Ospreys host Benetton Treviso at the Liberty Stadium KO 7.35pm with the home team targeting three wins in their remaining games to conclude their season on a high.

Ospreys team: 15 Dan Evans; 14 Hanno Dirksen; 13 Owen Watkin; 12 Josh Matavesi; 11 Eli Walker; 10 Dan Biggar; 9 Rhys Webb (Capt); 1 Nicky Smith; 2 Sam Parry; 3 Dmitri Arhip; 4 Adam Beard; 5 Rynier Bernardo; 6 Olly Cracknell; 7 James King; 8 Dan Baker

Replacements:16 Scott Baldwin; 17 Gareth Thomas; 18 Aaron Jarvis; 19 Rory Thornton; 20 Dan Lydiate; 21 Brendon Leonard; 22 Sam Davies; 23 Ben John

 

Ospreys Head Coach, Steve Tandy, said:“With three games remaining this season we know what we’ve got to do and that is go out on a high, targeting three wins, and whatever will be, will be. It’s essential that we take that approach, whether we are on target for the top six or whether it becomes clear over the next couple of weeks that it’ll be beyond us.

“We have to show what we are about and have to build some real momentum, regardless of who we have available for selection. Whoever is selected to wear the shirt knows what is expected of them and, all credit to the boys, last time out at the Dragons, with a number of late changes, to a man this young group stepped up and delivered a bonus point win.

“They’ve got to go all over again on Friday night against a Treviso side that, like all Italian teams, are strong up front and, because of the qualification rules for Europe, still have everything to play for. We have to be ready for a battle but we are up for the challenges of these last three matches.”

SCARLETS

Parc y Scarlets will host Scarlets’ last home game of the regular Guinness PRO12 season this Saturday and it’s another huge one for West Wales Rugby.

Head coach Wayne Pivac has named a strong side to take on the defending champions at the Parc with players making a return from long-term injuries for the all-important game. International fullback Liam Williams has been named in the starting XV in what will be only his second game of the season for the Scarlets, previously playing 60 minutes against Connacht at the Sportsground in January.

Steve Shingler will join him in the starting XV having made a return from knee injury and has been given the nod to start in the ten jersey.

Looking ahead to Saturday afternoon’s game Pivac said; “We have a lot of respect for Gregor Twonsend and his side. They’re the form team at the moment. They’ve won a run of games but they’re also putting teams away and scoring tries.

“I think we have to make sure that defensively we’re up to the challenge and line speed will play its part. They’re looking like definite contenders and top four material. It’s going to be a big challenge but we owe our crowd and we owe ourselves a big performance after our last outing.”

Scarlets team to take on Glasgow Warriors, at Parc y Scarlets, Saturday 16th April kick-off 3.15pm; 15 Liam Williams, 14 Steff Evans, 13 Gareth Owen, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Steve Shingler, 9 Gareth Davies, 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ken Owens ©, 3 Samson Lee, 4 Jake Ball, 5 David Bulbring, 6 Maselino Paulino, 7 James Davies, 8 John Barclay

Replacements; Kirby Myhill, Phil John, Peter Edwards, George Earle, Morgan Allen, Aled Davies, Aled Thomas, Steff Hughes

CARDIFF BLUES 

It’s another big Welsh derby on Sunday with the Cardiff Blues hoping to continue a rich vein of form at their home ground BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.

Wales international Kristian Dacey returns to Cardiff Blues’ starting line-up for Sunday’s must-win Guinness PRO12 clash with Newport Gwent Dragons. Dacey replaces Matthew Rees, who drops to the bench, as Danny Wilson makes two changes for the Welsh derby at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park (2.30pm).

Elsewhere Jarrad Hoeata starts in the second-row with Josh Turnbull moving to number eight and Josh Navidi named among the replacements. Danny Wilson’s side are aiming to finish the season with a hat-trick of wins to have the best possible chance of a top six finish in the league.

But the Cardiff Blues head coach is under no illusions of the magnitude of the task at hand. Wilson said: “Dragons at home is a massive game especially off the back of a huge win for them and then it’s the Ospreys at the Principality Stadium, another derby.

“They are great games to play at the end of the season when you have something to fight for.

“We’re not playing to make up the numbers, we genuinely have an opportunity to finish in the top six. If we do it will be a massive achievement considering the way the season started.”

The Blues claimed a 21-20 victory the last time the two sides met and are on the back of three consecutive PRO12 triumphs. They claimed a 28-22 victory over the Scarlets in west Wales in their last fixture and Wilson is pleased with the way his side are progressing.

He added: “It was a day where it all came together but it wasn’t unique in being a one off. If you look at our attacking game over the last few weeks, we have scored some great tries against Treviso, Munster and Ulster, not poor teams, but the pleasing thing was we did it away from home.

“That’s the next step for us, we needed to accept things would take time and there will still be bumps in the road.

“We have hit a bit of form recently but we’re not hiding away from the fact that this league is full of very good teams and anyone can beat anyone on their day.

“We’re taking steps in the right direction and we still have a long way to go. We have to take the highs with the lows but if we can keep this form going for the rest of the season and into the next then brilliant.”

Cardiff Blues: 15 Rhys Patchell, 14 Dan Fish, 13 Garyn Smith, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Tom James, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Lloyd Williams; 1 Gethin Jenkins (c), 2 Kristian Dacey, 3 Taufa’ao Filise, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 James Down, 6 Ellis Jenkins, 7 Sam Warburton, 8 Josh Turnbull

Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Manoa Vosawai, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Harri Millard, 23 Aled Summerhill

NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS

Head Coach Kingsley Jones makes no changes to the team that booked their place in the semi-finals of the European Rugby Challenge Cup.

The Men of Gwent beat Gloucester Rugby last weekend in the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup and will take on Montpellier next weekend. The back three include fullback Carl Meyer alongside wingers Adam Hughes and Hallam Amos. The centre partnership includes Adam Warren and Tyler Morgan. Fly-half Dorian Jones gets the nod alongside South African scrum-half Sarel Pretorius.

The front row includes props Phil Price and Brok Harris; Elliot Dee is named at hooker. The second row remains unchanged as Rynard Landman and Nick Crosswell are named. The back row includes skipper Lewis Evans and flanker Nic Cudd alongside Taulupe Faletau.

There is one change made to the replacements bench as Lloyd Fairbrother replaces Shaun Knight. Fairbrother is named alongside fellow substitutions Rhys Buckley, Boris Stankovich, Matthew Screech, Ed Jackson, Charlie Davies, Angus O’Brien and Geraint Rhys Jones.

Newport Gwent Dragons team to face Cardiff Blues: Carl Meyer, Adam Hughes, Tyler Morgan, Adam Warren, Hallam Amos, Dorian Jones, Sarel Pretorius; Phil Price, Elliot Dee, Brok Harris, Rynard Landman, Nick Crosswell, Lewis Evans ©, Nic Cudd, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Rhys Buckley, Boris Stankovich, Lloyd Fairbrother, Matthew Screech, Ed Jackson, Charlie Davies, Angus O’Brien, Geraint Rhys Jones.