Heineken Cup Pool 4: Clermont Auvergne v Scarlets match preview

Last Updated: 06/12/13 3:00pm

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Wales internationals Rhys Priestland and Liam Williams return to the Scarlets starting XV to take on Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup on Saturday.

Having started the European campaign with a defiant 26-33 victory over Harlequins and a 26-26 draw against big spending Racing Metro at Parc y Scarlets, the Welsh outfit now face the prospect of trying to bring an end to Clermont's imposing unbeaten home record which stretches back 67 matches.

Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby has told his players to meet the challenge head on and with a winning mentality following the good work from the opening two rounds.

"It is a real challenge but one that the team is ready and up for," said Easterby. "Our history in Europe against French teams shows we can cause an upset.

"We're really positive about going there, it's a phenomenal challenge but records are there to be broken. It's a great contest for the players and for us as a young coaching group and a fantastic opportunity for us all to be a part of."

International hooker Emyr Phillips will lead the Scarlets this weekend with centre Jonathan Davies, back-row Rob McCusker and prop Phil John on the sidelines through injury.

Williams, Priestland, Samson Lee and Scott Williams return to the starting line-up after the November Internationals with Ken Owens and newly-capped Rhodri Williams named on the replacements bench.

Landmark for Hines

Meanwhile, Clermont boss Vern Cotter has named Nathan Hines in his team, meaning the ex-Scotland second-row will make his 80th Heineken Cup appearance.

He is joined in the pack by fellow veteran European campaigners Julien Bonnaire and Benjamin Kayser, who boast 60 and 54 Heineken Cup caps respectively.

Lee Byrne faces several of his ex-Wales team-mates at full-back, with veteran France centre Aurelien Rougerie skippering the side from midfield.

Regan King will leave Clermont for a second spell at Parc y Scarlets come the end of the season, but faces off against his former side on Saturday from the inside centre position.

Clermont: 15 Byrne, 14 Sivivatu, 13 Rougerie (c), 12 King, 11 Nalaga, 10 James, 9 Lacrampe, 8 Lee, 7 Vosloo, 6 Bonnaire, 5 Hines, 4 Cudmore, 3 Kotze, 2 Kayser, 1 Domingo
Replacements: 16 Paulo, 17 Debaty, 18 Ric, 19 Pierre, 20 Chouly, 21 Radoslavjevic , 22 Delany, 23 Nakaitaci

Scarlets: 15 Williams, 14 Climo, 13 Reynolds, 12 Williams, 11 Williams, 10 Priestland, 9 Davies, 8 Turnbull, 7 Barclay, 6 Shingler, 5 Earle, 4 Ball, 3 Lee, 2 Phillips, 1 Evans
Replacements: 16 Owens, 17 Hopkins, 18 Adriaanse, 19 Kelly, 20 Snyman, 21 Williams, 22 Thomas, 23 Warren

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