Saturday 20 January 2018

No Ken Owens as Scarlets bid for Guinness PRO12 title glory against Munster

British and Irish Lions hooker Ken Owens will again be absent when the Scarlets go for Guinness PRO12 title glory on Saturday.

Owens, who was with the Lions during their training camp in Ireland this week, missed last Friday's pulsating semi-final victory over Leinster and is continuing his recovery from an ankle injury.

Owens now sits out the final at Dublin's Aviva Stadium, with Scotland international flanker John Barclay leading the Scarlets' victory bid against Munster.

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac has named an unchanged team - Owens' Lions colleagues Liam Williams, who joins Saracens this summer, and Jonathan Davies both start - as the west Wales region chase a first PRO12 crown.

And wing Steff Evans, sent off for a dangerous tackle in the Leinster clash, also features after his red card was rescinded at a disciplinary hearing earlier this week.

"We know they are a very good side," Pivac said.

"You don't finish top after the (regular season) stage for nothing. They have got the best defensive record in the championship, and they are a side that we have a lot of respect for."

The Scarlets beat Munster in Limerick earlier this season and Pivac added: "We took some confidence out of that win, but it is going to be a different occasion altogether.

"We have to make sure we go out there and play our game and enjoy the occasion. The boys know that if they get it right on the day they can beat anyone, so we just have to get it right on the day."

Munster rugby director Rassie Erasmus, meanwhile, retains the matchday 23 that accounted for semi-final opponents the Ospreys six days ago, which means starts for Lions squad members Conor Murray, CJ Stander and Peter O'Mahony.

Lock Donnacha Ryan makes his final appearance for Munster before moving to France, with centre Francis Saili and replacement Jean Deysel also set for farewall outings.

Press Association

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