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JUDGEMENT DAY VI TEAMS ANNOUNCED – Welsh Pro Rugby’s big double derby at the Principality Stadium kicks off tomorrow afternoon (Saturday) with a host of international stars in action in the Guinness PRO14 in front of a bumper crowd in the heart of the capital.

It’s the battle of East v West as the Dragons face the Scarlets in the opening fixture (kick off 3.05pm) followed by Cardiff Blues against the Ospreys (kick off 5.35pm) with all four sides intent on bringing big performances to secure Welsh derby victories, PRO14 points and bragging rights for their supporters at the showcase rugby fixture in Cardiff.

With excitement building for the season finale in the Guinness PRO14 pool stages, Judgement Day VI, will be another big occasion for players and supporters across Welsh Rugby.

DRAGONS

Welsh International hooker Elliot Dee will captain his home region for the first time with Cory Hill has ruled out due to an Achilles injury, so Head Coach Bernard Jackman has put his faith in 24-year-old Dee.

Commenting on the opportunity, the international hooker said; “This will be the first time that I have captained a side, and I was honoured when Bernard asked me. This region means a lot to me and this will be another proud moment – leading the boys on the field.

“I like to lead by example, and I always go into things giving my all so hopefully the boys can see that and take encouragement from it.”

With four personnel changes and two positional changes made to the team, Dee knows that there will be a few players who haven’t played at the stadium so he has given them some advice on playing in front of a packed stadium. “We talked about some of the players not having had a run out onto this pitch before and I explained that you need to embrace it as everyone is there to watch you,” explained the youngster.

“It makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up and it will be good for the young boys to experience that, as well as the older ones who haven’t had the opportunity. It will also be a good way to send off the boys who are leaving – we have trained this week with smiles on our faces as we want to enjoy each other’s company and enjoy the game before the end of the season.”

Dee will captain the side from the front row with props Thomas Davies and Lloyd Fairbrother either side of him. Rynard Landman returns to the second row from the back row and joins Joe Davies as Harri Keddie and James Benjamin link up with flanker Aaron Wainwright to complete the back row.

Hallam Amos, who recently made his Wales 7s debut in the Commonwealth Games is the only change in the back three, as he returns to the position of fullback alongside wings Ashton Hewitt and Jared Rosser. Zane Kirchner moves into the centre to partner Connor Edwards, whilst the half-back pairing remains unchanged.

The replacements bench has two changes to is as Luke Garrett and Sarel Pretorius join Liam Belcher, Dan Suter, Max Williams, Taine Basham, Adam Warren and Joe Goodchild.

Dragons team to face Scarlets: 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Ashton Hewitt, 13 Zane Kirchner, 12 Connor Edwards, 11 Jared Rosser, 10 Arwel Rosbon, 9 Charlie Davies; 1 Thomas Davies, 2 Elliot Dee ©, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 4 Joe Davies, 5 Rynard Landman, 6 Harri Keddie, 7 Aaron Wainwright, 8 James Benjamin.

Replacements; Liam Belcher, Luke Garrett, Dan Suter, Max Williams, Taine Basham, Sarel Pretorius, Adam Warren, Joe Goodchild.

SCARLETS  

Scarlets have named a strong side, including no less than ten internationals in the starting XV, for their Judgement Day clash and last round of the regular season against the Dragons.

Head coach Wayne Pivac has named a strong side for the final round of the regular season with the Scarlets requiring a bonus point victory to secure a home draw in the Final Series Quarter Final next weekend.

Scarlets are currently in second place in Conference B with Edinburgh only a point behind in third place. Edinburgh will take on Glasgow on Saturday hoping to secure a victory over their fellow Scots to pip Scarlets to the home draw post.

One personnel change in the backline sees Ioan Nicholas come on to the wing. Leigh Halfpenny returns to the fullback berth and Rhys Patchell returning to the outside half position sees Dan Jones move to the bench. Centre Scott Williams will lead the side in his final Judgement Day clash as a Scarlet.

In the pack Ryan Elias comes in to the front row, alongside Rob Evans and Samson Lee, with club captain Ken Owens moving to the bench. Lewis Rawlins and Steve Cummins pair up in the second row with Tadhg Beirne moving to the blindside flank alongside James Davies and Will Boyde in the backrow.

Head Coach Pivac said; “Our players want to get back out there (after last week’s semi final). We’re putting out what we believe is the strongest side possible, bearing in mind the workload of some players who won’t be up to playing.

“After last weekend we’re really determined to get a good performance on the board, no matter what they bring to the table. You have to respect every opponent because the minute you don’t you take your eye off the ball, you can have a poor performance. We’ve had a couple this season we’d love to get back.

“There’s enough history there to suggest that we need to be on our game. I suspect they may get quite physical and come quite direct at us. They’re a dangerous opponent in that it’s the last game of the season.”

Scarlets team to take on Dragons : 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Ioan Nicholas, 13 Scott Williams ©, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ryan Elias, 3 Samson Lee, 4 Lewis Rawlins, 5 Steve Cummins, 6 Tadhg Beirne, 7 James Davies, 8 Will Boyde

Replacements; 16 Ken Owens, 17 Phil Price, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 David Bulbring, 20 John Barclay, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Steff Hughes

CARDIFF BLUES

Taufa’ao Filise returns to the Cardiff Blues line-up as Danny Wilson makes 13 changes for their Judgement Day clash against the Ospreys.

The prop, who will make his 254th appearance for the region, was a try scorer during this fixture last season, as Wales’ Capital Region sealed a memorable bonus point victory over their rivals.

Gareth Anscombe, who was a stand-out player during last season’s bonus point victory at the Principality Stadium, captains his side for the Guinness PRO14 encounter and makes a switch from full back to the number 10 jersey. The only other player to be retained in the starting line-up from last week’s European Challenge Cup semi-final win over Pau is Josh Turnbull, who features at number 8.

Experienced scrum half, Lloyd Williams, returns to partner Anscombe at half back, while Matthew Morgan, Aled Summerhill and Blaine Scully are also introduced to the backline.

Steven Shingler, who combines with Garyn Smith in midfield, will make his 50th appearance for the region.Seven changes are made in the pack, with Olly Robinson starting at openside following an impressive outing as a replacement during last week’s semi-final. Rhys Gill and Kirby Myhill join Filise in a new-look front row, with Damian Welch partnering James Down in the second row.

Danny Wilson is keen to see a repeat of last season’s result, and insists places are up-for-grabs for the Challenge Cup final in Bilbao on May 11.

“Judgement Day is massive, it’s a derby again and those are the big games you want to play in. At the tail-end of the season we’ve come up against a number of big games and it feels like every week there’s a big game,” said Wilson. “We will certainly go into a derby against Ospreys with the mindset that we want to pick up another derby win and we believe our squad is capable of doing that.

“We picked up a lot of bumps on the weekend, and this week will be about managing those and making a decision on those players, going into Judgement Day and going into the final in a couple of weeks’ time.

“What this is going to provide is an opportunity for some players, with places genuinely up for grabs.

“We had a massive game on Saturday, and have another massive game this Saturday, and they’re two games to assess individual games to make sure we pick the right squad and the right team to go to Bilbao.”

Alun Lawrence and Max Llewellyn both line-up on the bench and could make their Championship debut if called into action.

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Aled Summerhill, Garyn Smith, Steven Shingler, Blaine Scully; Gareth Anscombe (capt), Lloyd Williams; Rhys Gill, Kirby Myhill, Taufa’ao Filise, Damian Welch, James Down, Macauley Cook, Olly Robinson, Josh Turnbull

Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Brad Thyer, Dillon Lewis, Ben Murphy, Alun Lawrence, Lewis Jones, Harri Millard, Max Llewellyn

OSPREYS

Ospreys have announced a strong team for their clash with the Cardiff Blues and will be looking to put in a big performance after their defeat at Judgement Day last year.

Head Coach, Allen Clarke, said: “While Saturday’s game won’t have any bearing on how we finish the season, Judgment Day is always a big occasion for Welsh rugby and it’s something to look forward to.

“Cardiff Blues will have their own focus, with a Challenge Cup final to prepare for, but we will worry about ourselves going into the game and what we can do. This is a first for me, in terms of Judgment Day, and I know that the result last year hurt the group. I’ve done my research into the history of the fixture and I’m aware that the Ospreys have had the upper hand prior to that game. Everybody will want to ensure it stays that way.

“We’ve got three weeks off after this weekend before our European play-off so we can focus on this game and everything that comes with a derby game.”

Ospreys team for Judgement Day VI: 15 Dan Evans; 14 Jeff Hassler; 13 Kieron Fonotia; 12 Owen Watkin; 11 Hanno Dirksen; 10 Dan Biegbar; 9 Tom Habberfield; 1 Nicky Smith; 2 Scott Otten; 3 Dmitri Arhip; 4 Bradley Davies; 5 Alun Wyn Jones (Capt); 6 Sam Cross; 7 Justin Tipuric; 8 James King

Replacements: 16 Ifan Phillips; 17 Rhodri Jones; 18 Ma’afu Fia; 19 Adam Beard; 20 Giorgi Nemsadze; 21 Reuben Morgan-Williams; 22 Sam Davies; 23 Ashley Beck

Tickets are on sale now for Judgement Day VI from www.wru.wales/tickets, priced £10 for each seat in the ground with a £1-per-ticket online booking fee, as well as postage (Print at home e-tickets are also available), payable at the time of purchase.