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Lee returns for derby clash

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TIGHTHEAD prop Samson Lee returns to action for the Scarlets this Friday in the Welsh derby clash against Dragons Rugby at Parc y Scarlets.

Lee’s last appearance came in the European Rugby Champions Cup clash against Bath Rugby in October and is one of eleven personnel changes to the Scarlets side that secured victory over Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park on New Year’s Eve.

Head Coach Wayne Pivac has made thirteen changes to the side, two of which are positional, and Lee is one-third of a fresh front row for the derby clash with Rob Evans and Ken Owens also making a return to the starting XV.

Australian Steve Cummins and South African David Bulbring pair up in the second row with Aaron Shingler and John Barclay returning to the starting line-up alongside Sunday’s man of the match James Davies.

In the backline injuries have forced a reshuffle with Rhys Patchell moving to fullback with injuries to both Johnny Mcnicholl (shoulder) and Leigh Halfpenny (pec). Tom Prydie keeps his place on the wing with Ioan Nicholas coming in for Paul Asquith who’s unavailable due to illness.

Hadleigh Parkes moves to inside centre with Steff Hughes coming in at outside centre. Aled Davies is named at scrum half with Dan Jones taking up the fly half mantle.

The replacements bench two internationals in Ryan Elias and Wyn Jones with Simon Gardiner offering tighthead cover. Lewis Rawlins returns from a foot injury to partner Will Boyde as loose forward cover.

Scrum half Jonathan Evans makes a return to action after suffering a high ankle sprain in the victory over Southern Kings in South Africa back in November alongside Rhys Jones and Morgan Williams.

Speaking ahead of the Guinness PRO14 clash head coach Wayne Pivac said: “These derbies have been tight affairs. We’ll be focusing on ourselves. It’s another derby and we’ve seen over the last two matches how tight they can be. That game will no doubt be another exciting game.

“We’ve done the double over the Ospreys and the Blues and the Dragons are the last Welsh team for us to play, it’ll be the first time we play them this season. It’s important for us to keep winning at home.”

Scarlets team to take on Dragons tomorrow (Jan 5), kick-off 7.35pm, at Parc y Scarlets;

15 Rhys Patchell, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Steff Hughes, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Ioan Nicholas, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Aled Davies, 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ken Owens ©, 3 Samson Lee, 4 Steve Cummins, 5 David Bulbring, 6 Aaron Shingler, 7 James Davies, 8 John Barclay

Replacements; Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones, Simon Gardiner, Lewis Rawlins, Will Boyde, Jonathan Evans, Rhys Jones, Morgan Williams

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Ruthless Mariners power past Saints

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MILFORD Haven put in a ruthless display as they scored seventeen tries to beat St Davids 119-5 at the Obs on Saturday (Jan 5).

The Mariners were right at it from the kick off and did not let up as they held a 63-5 lead at the break.

James Trueman scored a hat trick of tries for the home side and he also went on to kick each of his 17 conversion attempts for a club record haul of 49 points.

Dan Jenkins also crossed for three tries while Dan Birch, Sam Dolling and Brandon Cooper all scored twice for the home side.

The Saints, to their credit, kept going and were rewarded in the first half when Josh Strangwood crossed for a try.

Jamie Lewis, Dewi Williams, Ryan Mansell, Dan McClelland and Steve Martin all got their names on the scoresheet to seal an emphatic victory.

The win keeps Milford top of the table by a point from rivals Neyland and on Saturday (Jan 12), they will face a sterner test as they travel to Laugharne.

The Saints remain third from bottom in the table and on Saturday they are at home to third placed Haverfordwest.

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Trundle leaves Bluebirds

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HAVERFORDWEST County have confirmed that star signing Lee Trundle has left the club.

The news was announced on Sunday, December 30, and the former Swansea City player has since signed for Welsh League Division 3 side Trefelin BGC.

In a statement released by the Bluebirds they thank Lee for his time at the club in which he scored 12 goals in all competitions.

A spokesperson for the club said: “Due to increasing work commitments, Lee Trundle has decided to leave Haverfordwest County and his last game was on Friday evening (Dec 28) at Ton Pentre where he scored two goals taking his tally for the Bluebirds to twelve in all competitions this season.

“Whist his stay at our club was shorter than we would have hoped, we fully understand his decision and everyone at the football club would like to thank Lee for his time here and the way he has conducted himself both on and off the field of play. Lee leaves with our sincere best wishes.”

Lee commented on Haverfordwest County’s Facebook page saying: “Good luck the rest of the season boys. Great club run by great people. Wish you all the best on the race for the league title this year.”

Fans of the club have also commented saying they are ‘gutted’ to see him leave and that he will be missed.

As well as Swansea, Lee has also played for Wrexham, Bristol City and Leeds United in his career.

It was announced in May 2018 that Trundle would be joining the Bluebirds having helped Llanelli Town to promotion to the Welsh Premier League.

Lee now joins a team that sit top of Division 3 and his inclusion is likely to give a further boost to their promotion hopes.

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Late Smith penalty seals Pembroke win

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A LATE penalty from Toby Smith earned Pembroke a 15-13 victory in a hard-fought encounter with Pembrokeshire rivals Fishguard on Saturday (Dec 29).

It was an excellent game between two good teams with Pembroke feeling a little rusty having not played for three weeks while the heavy pitch suited a Fishguard side who were looking to avenge their narrow 16-17 defeat at home to Pembroke earlier in the season.

There was no sign of rustiness however as the home side started the game well and could have gone ahead but Johnny Palmer was held up over the line.

Sean Dalling also looked to be free but he was ankle tapped near the line and the Seagulls were able to recover.

Having weathered the early storm the Seagulls then took the lead as Andrew Williams touched down under the posts. Kial Keane then added the extra two points.

Pembroke responded well and were soon back on level terms as Dan Colley ran a good line off Toby Smith to touch the ball down under the posts. Smith then added the extras.

The home side then went ahead as a good break by Tom Lewis set up captain Scott Powell who crashed over. This time the conversion was missed by Pembroke held a 12-7 lead.

They could have had a third try soon after as Dan Colley touched down but it was ruled out for a marginal forward pass.

The Seagulls then narrowed the gap as Keane scored a penalty and the score at half time was 12-10 in Pembroke’s favour.

In the second half Fishguard came at Pembroke well and they took the lead with another penalty from Keane to make it 12-13 to the visitors.

It was an evenly contested half but it was Pembroke who had the final say as Smith sent a penalty through the posts in the last minute to seal a 15-13 victory.

Pembroke’s win keeps them fourth in the table and they will look for another win on Saturday (Jan 5) as they host Carmarthen Athletic.

Fishguard will look to get back to winning ways as they travel to Burry Port who sit just below them in the table.

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