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It’s three home games in the PRO12 for our Welsh sides this weekend as the Cardiff Blues get a warm welcome home to BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park after five rounds on the road during the Rugby World Cup.

The action for Wales Pro Rugby teams kicks off with the high-flying Scarlets as they take on Leinster at the RDS on Friday night in the final round of the opening block of the Guinness PRO12 campaign.

Six victories in the opening six rounds sees Scarlets top the PRO12 table with a bonus point victory over Newport Gwent Dragons last weekend taking them a point ahead of their closest rivals Connacht who are in second place.

John Barclay captains the Scarlets in the huge clash as Ken Owens makes way in the starting line-up for Emyr Phillips.

Gareth Owen, Michael Tagicakibau and Aaron Shingler make a return from injury with Gareth Davies back for his first start over the season after a successful Rugby World Cup campaign.

Newcomers Maselino Paulino and Michael Collins are named on the replacements bench hoping to make an impact on their debuts.

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac said: “We’ve won the first six and we’re happy with where we’re sitting in the Pro12 table. It’s very early days but success breeds success and the confidence is growing with each victory.

“We’re building a good camaraderie within the group. Don’t underestimate a team that is working well together and enjoying each other’s company and how that transforms into a good team performance.

“We’ll be going out there trying to give it our best shot.”

Scarlets team to take on Leinster, Friday 6th November kick-off 7.35pm, at the RDS: 15 Aled Thomas, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Gareth Owen, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Michael Tagicakibau, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies, 1 Rob Evans, 2 Emyr Phillips, 3 Peter Edwards, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Lewis Rawlins, 6 Aaron Shingler, 7 James Davies, 8 John Barclay [c]

Replacements: Ken Owens, Dylan Evans, Will Taylor, Tom Price, Maselino Paulino, Aled Davies, Michael Collins, Harry Robinson


The Ospreys face Zebre at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday KO 2.30pm and Head Coach Steve Tandy has called on his players to perform “like an Ospreys team”.

Ospreys Head Coach, Steve Tandy, said: “We haven’t been at the level expected so far this season and the PRO12 table tells its own story. It’s disappointing but we won’t dwell on the last few weeks, we are looking forward and looking at how we can start climbing the table. In order to do that, we need to go up several levels from where we have been so far this season, particularly with this game starting off a busy period of big games.

“The appetite and the desire is there among the squad and the coaches, the attitude is good, and everybody is pulling together to get us out of the position we are in. Our internationals have enjoyed another week in our environment and we’ve got one or two coming off the injury list so things are starting to look a bit brighter, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy the next few weeks.

“Zebre are coming here off the back of two very good wins over Edinburgh and the Blues and will no doubt fancy their chances so we’ll have to be on our game. We have to cut out the unnecessary mistakes that have been costing us, we have to be clinical and accurate, and everybody needs to not just know their roles but keep calm under pressure and stick to what we’ve practiced all week. Those are the key ingredients for an improved performance which is what we need, not only to get the right performance on Saturday but to start building momentum and confidence.

“It’s a Saturday afternoon kick-off, no TV coverage, so we are hoping that our supporters will come out and get behind us when we need them.”

Ospreys team 15 Dan Evans; 14 Dafydd Howells; 13 Jonathan Spratt; 12 Josh Matavesi 11 Eli Walker; 10 Dan Biggar; 9 Brendon Leonard; 1 Paul James; 2 Scott Baldwin 3 Aaron Jarvis; 4 Lloyd Ashley; 5 Alun Wyn Jones (Capt); 6 James King; 7 Justin Tipuric 8 Dan Baker

Replacements: 16 Sam Parry; 17 Ryan Bevington; 18  Cai Griffiths; 19 Olly Cracknell; 20 Sam Underhill; 21 Tom Habberfield; 22 Sam Davies; 23 Ben John


Prop star Taufa’ao Filise will become the first player to hit a double century of appearances for Cardiff Blues as the region returns home to tackle Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness PRO12 at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

Tongan ace Filise – already the leading appearance maker for Cardiff Blues – will bring up his landmark 200 games while a trio of star Wales internationals also make a comeback.

Head Coach Danny Wilson makes a total of seven changes to the side that started against Zebre last weekend.

Gethin Jenkins is back to captain the team at loosehead prop while another change in the front row sees a return for hooker Kristian Dacey.

The other change in the pack is a call-up for Wales international captain Sam Warburton to the back row for his first appearance of the season in the seven jersey. Josh Turnbull will operate at Number Eight and Ellis Jenkins at blindside flanker.

A new midfield partnership will see fit-again Gavin Evans play at inside centre while Samoa international Rey Lee-Lo will make his debut for Cardiff Blues on home soil. The final change to the side is a return for wing Alex Cuthbert.

Lock Jarrad Hoeata is named among the replacements with Jarrod Evans rewarded for his eye-catching performance for the Cardiff Blues Premiership Select with a spot on the bench.

Wilson said: “It’s fantastic to be coming home after two months away from BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park and we’re looking forward to the clash with Glasgow Warriors.

“Our opening day victory over Zebre was a special occasion and it’s vital we make our home a difficult place for any team to visit.

“Glasgow are a very talented side, who showed last weekend against Ospreys what they are capable of. Gregor Townsend and his coaching team have done a fantastic job over the last few years and they are the model for many teams to follow.

“We’re delighted to welcome back our Welsh internationals and Rey Lee-Lo will also make his home debut.

“While Rey will make his first appearance we have Taufa’ao Filise making his 200th appearance which is a staggering feat.

“To play that many games for a team is a wonderful achievement and testament to his dedication and durability. We congratulate him on this special milestone.”

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

Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Jarrad Hoeata, 20 Manoa Vosawai, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Tom Isaacs


Young gun Ollie Griffiths will make his first Guinness PRO12 start against Ulster at Rodney Parade on Sunday afternoon (KO 14:30) The 20-year-old flanker has 10 appearances under his belt for the Dragons but will make his first PRO12 start for the Welsh Region in front of a home crowd.

The Wales U20 star, who was named Premiership side Newport RFC captain last season, is one of five personnel changes that have been made to the team that lost out to the Scarlets last weekend.

Fullback Carl Meyer gets the nod and joins the back three alongside wingers Ashton Hewitt and Nick Scott. The centre pairing remains unchanged for the third week running as Adam Hughes and Adam Warren retain their places. 23-year-old Dorian Jones is named as fly-half and is joined in the halfbacks by scrum half Sarel Pretorius.

The front row sees one change made to it as prop Shaun Knight joins Boris Stankovich and hooker Elliot Dee. The second row has one change made to it as Cory Hill joins Rynard Landman. The back row includes PRO12 debutant Ollie Griffiths who joins Ed Jackson and Taulupe Faletau.

The replacements bench has six changes made to it as Brok Harris, Matthew Screech, Lewis Evans, Charlie Davies, Jason Tovey and Ross Wardle join Rhys Buckley and Phil Price.

Director of Rugby, Lyn Jones understands how important performance is this weekend if the Dragons are to take their third consecutive win at Rodney Parade on Sunday. He commented: “We played some attractive rugby last season and the season before but so far we haven’t been able to get the ball through three pairs of hands.

“That’s something very much in our mind because if we are to be successful then we have to score at least 25 points. You are not going to do that by holding onto the ball all the time, the game has to have some width.

“It’s something we are aware of and something we are working towards improving – if we are going to beat Ulster we have got to play.”

Jones continued: “We didn’t kick smartly or chase well against the Scarlets and lost the kicking battle. Only one kick ended on a positive note for us.

“Ulster are the team in the league who kick the most and will drag the game into a kicking duel. We cannot afford to play rugby on the tail end of a really good kick.

“We have to play on the front foot when circumstances arise and need to be patient in the kicking battle.”

Dragons team: Carl Meyer, Ashton Hewitt, Adam Hughes, Adam Warren, Nick Scott, Dorian Jones, Sarel Pretorius; Boris Stankovich, Elliot Dee, Shaun Knight, Cory Hill, Rynard Landman ©, Ed Jackson, Ollie Griffiths, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Rhys Buckley, Phil Price, Brok Harris, Matthew Screech, Lewis Evans, Charlie Davies, Jason Tovey, Ross Wardle.