Scarlets eye vital victory
December 17, 2010
Stephen Jones returns at fly-half for the Scarlets © Getty Images
The Scarlets will look to keep their euro hopes alive against Treviso at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo on Saturday.
The Magners League side made heavy weather of a 35-27 victory over their winless Italian rivals last weekend and will be all too aware that another win is of paramount importance if they are to stay in touch with Pool 5 heavyweights Leicester Tigers and Perpignan.
But Treviso pushed the Tigers all the way on home soil earlier this season and will be confident of another strong showing having troubled the Scarlets last time out.
Treviso - Player to Watch: Tommaso Benvenuti has been among the tries this season and having grabbed one at Parc Y Scarlers last weekend he will be confident of dotting down again.
Treviso - Team News: Treviso make 11 changes as Joe Maddock comes into the Italian line-up on the right wing, Benvenuti moving inside to the centre alongside Alberton Sgarbi. WIllem de Waal starts at fly-half alongside Edoardo Gori. Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet and Lorenzo Cittadini start at prop, while Corniel van Zyl returns in the second row. Robert Barbieri, Alessandro Zanni and Manoa Vosawai start in the back row.
Scarlets - Player to Watch: With the key triumverate of experienced players out injured, Regan King's vast knowledge and game changing abilities will be key. The Kiwi's tendency to step past defenders and his defensive positioning will go a long way for the Scarlets.
Scarlets - Team News: Stephen Jones, Matthew Rees and David Lyons are all out injured for the Welsh side. Rhys Priestland starts at 10, while Ben Morgan continues at No.8 and Ken Owens stands in for Wales captain Rees.
Key Battle:Corniel van Zyl goes up against Vernon Cooper and Dominic Day alongside his captain Antonio Pavanello in the second-row. The lineout will be an important source of possession for the Italians who like to dominate up front at home.
Trivia: Treviso won last season's Super 10 title with a narrow 16-10 victory over Viadana in Rome.
Stats: Treviso's Benvenuti is currently the competition's leading try scorer with five scores to his name.
Quote Unquote:"I've said that building strength in depth in this group is what we needed and to an extent we've got that now and these boys are showing great commitment and enthusiasm for the shirt. I'm really comfortable with how this group is performing and our starting line up for Saturday." - Nigel Davies shows faith in his squad.
"We've got to be able to win matches like last Saturday. We have studied our mistakes and we know that we can get a result. If we raise our standard we should be able to reap the rewards." - Treviso lock Valerie Bernabo
"This pool will probably go down to the wire. We've got a big challenge next week and we are really looking forward to Leicester at home in mid January. We just know we've got to win all our remaining games and that's what we are focusing on - not other results." - Scarlets boss Nigel Davies
Prediction: Treviso will probably never have a better chance for a scalp with the Scarlets travelling light. The Italians have been strong at home this season and without Jones, Rees and Lyons the visitors will be there for the taking and could lose their European momentum.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September