South African international Werner Kruger takes over the captaincy for the Scarlets’ Guinness PRO14 clash with Isuzu Southern Kings at Parc y Scarlets on Sunday (5.15pm).
With centre Steff Hughes sidelined because of a shoulder injury picked up during last weekend’s defeat Edinburgh, the experienced Kruger takes over the armband for the first time this season.
The Scarlets starting XV shows three changes from the 14-9 defeat to the Scots.
Corey Baldwin has recovered from a rib injury to take his place on the right wing, while Paul Asquith comes into midfield to replace Hughes in the only other change behind the scrum.
Up front, Wales international Samson Lee has been given more time to recover from a calf issue so Kruger again packs down at tight-head alongside hooker Taylor Davies and loose-head prop Phil Price.
Fijian international lock Tevita Ratuva comes in to partner fellow Pacific islander Sam Lousi in the second row, while the back row is the same as last weekend.
Aaron Shingler is the lone player released from Six Nations duty and he will slot in alongside Macleod and Uzair Cassiem.
On the bench, hooker Ifan Phillips, who has linked up with the squad on a short-term loan deal from the Ospreys, is named among the replacements; prop Dylan Evans comes in for Rob Evans, who is on the bench for Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, while back-three player Tom Rogers is set for his first PRO14 appearance of the season.
Going into round 12 of the competition, Scarlets sit in third place in the Conference B standings.
Scarlets forwards coach Ioan Cunningham said: “We had a lot of territory and possession against Edinburgh and we have learned a lot from that match – how to finish close to the tryline and being clinical in those areas, little details which we have put right this week and we’re looking forward to getting on the field on Sunday to make those changes.”
Looking ahead to the challenge of the Kings, Cunningham added: “We have done a lot of work looking at them and they are a tough side, they bring a lot of physicality, but they also have a lot of variation in their play. Their coaches are smart with different ploys and if you give them a sniff they will take advantage. They have athletes who can cause damage if you give them time and space.”
Scarlets v Isuzu Southern Kings (Sunday, February 23, Parc y Scarlets; 5.15pm ko)
15 Angus O’Brien; 14 Corey Baldwin 13 Kieron Fonotia 12 Paul Asquith 11 Steff Evans; 10 Dan Jones 9 Kieran Hardy; 1. Phil Price 2 Taylor Davies 3 Werner Kruger (capt) 4 Tevita Ratuva 5 Sam Lousi 6 Aaron Shingler 7 Josh Macleod 8 Uzair Cassiem.
Reps: 16 Ifan Phillips 17 Dylan Evans 18 Javan Sebastian 19 Steve Cummins 20 Dan Davis 21 Dane Blacker 22 Ryan Conbeer 23 Tom Rogers.
Unavailable due to injury
Jonathan Davies (knee), Rhys Patchell (shoulder), James Davies (back), Daf Hughes (knee), Blade Thomson (concussion), Samson Lee (calf), Marc Jones (calf), Steff Hughes (shoulder), Lewis Rawlins (shoulder), Steffan Thomas (knee), Joe Roberts (knee).