United Rugby Championship: Scarlets v Ulster (Sat)

Scarlets full-back Johnny McNicholl is tackled by Ospreys center Michael Collins with Justin Tipuric in the background
Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli Date: Saturday, 24 September Kick-off: 13:00 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Ulster, the BBC Sport website and app. Highlights on Scrum V, Sunday, BBC Two Wales and online from 18:00 BST and later on demand.

Scarlets trio Johnny McNicholl, Tom Rogers and Tomas Lezana will miss the United Rugby Championship home match against Ulster.

The injured trio are replaced by Ioan Nicholas, Corey Baldwin and Josh Macleod in three changes from the side that drew 23-23 with Ospreys.

Ireland hooker Rob Herring lines up in Ulster’s front row while Nick Timoney returns at number eight.

Ulster wing Aaron Sexton will make his first start for the province.

While Ulster are without nine players who are part of the Emerging Ireland Tour, coach Dan McFarland is able to welcome back Ireland internationals Herring, Timoney, Michael Lowry and John Cooney who did not feature in last weekend’s opening 36-10 win over Connacht.

Scarlets’ McNicholl, 31, failed a head injury assessment against Ospreys and is undergoing concussion protocols after being involved in a collision with Justin Tipuric.

Lezana was forced off against Ospreys with a calf problem, Rogers has picked up a hamstring injury in training as Nicholas slots in at full-back and Baldwin starts on the wing.

Wales internationals Rhys Patchell returns to the Scarlets’ replacements alongside fellow fly-half Dan Jones, while 18-year-old back row Luca Giannini is poised to make his league debut.

The replacements also include prop brothers Harri O’Connor and Sam O’Connor with British and Irish Lions front row Wyn Jones missing through injury.

Jones joins McNicholl, Lezana, Rogers, Leigh Halfpenny, Aaron Shingler, Scott Williams, Steff Evans, Dan Davis, Phil Price, Lewis Rawlins, Joe Roberts, Carwyn Tuipulotu, Callum Williams, Kemsley Mathias, WillGriff John, Samson Lee, Griff Evans, and Josh Helps on the unavailability list.

Wales and Scarlets hooker Ken Owens will play his first match in 11 months when he plays for Carmarthen Quins against Swansea in the Welsh Premiership.

Scarlets: John Nicholas; Corey Baldwin, Jonathan Davies (capt), Johnny Williams, Ryan Conbeer; Sam Costelow, Gareth Davies, Steff Thomas, Ryan Elias, Javan Sebastian, Vaea Fifita, Sam Lousi, Blade Thomson, Josh Macleod, Sione Kalamafoni.

Replacements: Daf Hughes, Sam O’Connor, Harry O’Connor, Tom Price, Luca Giannini, Kieran Hardy, Dan Jones, Rhys Patchell.

Ulster: Michael Lowry; Aaron Sexton, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, John Cooney; Andy Warwick, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor (capt), Kieran Treadwell, Matty Rea, Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney.

Replacements: Declan Moore, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Sam Carter, Sean Reffell, Dave Shanahan, Angus Curtis, Craig Gilroy.

Referee: AJ Jacobs (SARU)

Assistant referees: Mike English & Elliot Mayor (WRU)

TMO: Sam Grove-White (SRU)

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