Heineken Cup Pool 4: Racing Metro v Scarlets match preview

Last Updated: 10/01/14 6:35pm

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Scarlets coach Simon Easterby has made four changes to his starting XV for the Heineken Cup trip to Racing Metro on Friday.

Both sides have accumulated just six points after four games and know that a win is mandatory if they are to keep their extremely slim hopes of qualifying from Pool 4 alive.

For the visitors, who lost to the Ospreys in the RaboDirect Pro12 last time out, Aled Thomas replaces Gareth Owen at full-back and Gareth Davies comes in at scrum-half for Rhodri Williams.

In the pack George Earle and Josh Turnbull make way for Johan Snyman and Aaron Shingler at second-row and flanker respectively.

"I think it's important that we finish strongly - we started really well and we'd like to see us finish in the same way," Easterby said.

Vital

"The next two weeks are vital; first and foremost is to get some confidence back into the squad but we also need to get some momentum back into the season and get the winning run back again.

"We've contributed to our own downfall in the last three weeks. We've made too many errors, we're not a million miles away but we have to win the tight games - we haven't done that in the last few weeks. We do this first and foremost because we enjoy doing it and losing isn't enjoyable.

"Racing are a physical side - they've showed that at home they are a match for anyone, they've beaten Clermont at home recently and they have the obvious strengths of depth in their squad."

Meanwhile, Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips will make his home debut for Racing, having been signed up by the Parisian outfit last month following his dismissal from Bayonne.

Phillips is one of a number of familiar faces lining up opposite Scarlets, with fellow Wales and British and Irish Lions international Dan Lydiate named in the back row.

Ireland star Johnny Sexton starts at fly-half, while Argentina's Juan Martin Hernandez is named at inside centre.

Racing Metro: 15 Fall, 14 Imhoff, 13 Chavancy, 12 Hernandez, 11 Andreu, 10 Sexton, 9 Phillips; 1 Brugnaut, 2 Lacombe, 3 Mujati, 4 Ghezal, 5 Metz, 6 Battut, 7 Lydiate, 8 Cronje.

Replacements: 16 Maurouard, 17 Tonga'uiha, 18 Dulcacon, 19 JKruger, 20 Gerondeau, 21 Machenaud, 22 Dambielle, 23 Dumoulin.

Scarlets: 15 Thomas, 14 Phillips, 13 Reynolds, 12 S Williams, 11 Climo, 10 Priestland, 9 Davies; 1 John, 2 Phillips, 3 Lee, 4 Ball, 5 Snyman, 6 Shingler, 7 Barclay, 8 McCusker (c).

Replacements: 16 Myhill, 17 Evans, 18 Adriaanse, 19 Kelly, 20 Turnbull, 21 R Williams, 22 Maule, 23 J Williams.

Watch Racing Metro tackle Scarlets live on Sky Sports 2HD via the red button at 8pm this evening.

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