Scarlets welcome back Ken Owens to the fray for this Saturday’s LV= Cup clash against London Irish at Parc y Scarlets with the Carmarthen born hooker making a return from injury that has kept him sidelined since September.
Owens' return is a welcome boost to the Scarlets pack, which has seen six front row players, fall to injury in the last few months. Returning alongside Owens is veteran loosehead prop Phil John who has recovered from knee surgery.
With a number of senior players rested ahead of the forthcoming Guinness PRO12 fixture against Connacht a number of the region's bright young things in Lewis Rawlins, Phil Day and Will Boyde have an opportunity to make their mark with Rory Pitman returning to the number 8 berth.
Former Exile Steven Shingler makes only his second start of the season at outside half and will be partnered at halfback by Rhodri Williams.
Josh Lewis starts at fullback with Harry Robinson and Kristian Phillips on the wings. Frazier Climo and Adam Warren make up Scarlets' centre partnership for the LV= Cup clash.
Taking responsibility over the coaching of the LV= Cup group coach Ioan Cunningham said: "The important thing for us is to secure a victory at home. We want to try and win every game at home. It's an opportunity for us to wipe the slate clean and start a new challenge with London Irish and two weeks of a new competition – it's exciting.
"London Irish are a very good side. They're a proud bunch and they're going to challenge us with quite a bit of width. They will be a challenge but that's exactly what we want.
"It's our home patch, our back yard, we want to win and that's important to us.
"The LV= Cup is about unearthing the next generation, exposing players to a different standard of rugby and getting the mix right with experience and youth. The young players here will only develop by playing alongside experienced players.
"It's a huge boost to have Ken and Phil back; they bring a lot of experience and it's going to help our young props to play alongside players of their experience over the next couple of weeks.”
Scarlets' new signing, Australian Under 20s and Welsh qualified, Jack Payne will take his place on the replacements bench and will be hoping to make his regional debut for the Scarlets this Saturday at Parc y Scarlets. The 6ft 5in 18st 3lb back row, who can also play lock, featured for the Wallabies age grade at the 2014 Junior Rugby World Championship.
Scarlets team to take on London Irish at Parc y Scarlets, Saturday 31st January kick-off 6.30pm;
15 Josh Lewis, 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Frazier Climo, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Kristian Phillips, 10 Steven Shingler, 9 Rhodri Williams, 1 Phil John, 2 Ken Owens ©, 3 Peter Edwards, 4 George Earle, 5 Lewis Rawlins, 6 Phil Day, 7 Will Boyde, 8 Rory Pitman
Replacements: Darran Harris, Wyn Jones, Jacobie Adriaanse, Jack Payne, Sion Bennett, Kieran Hardy, Dan Jones, Kyle Evans