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Wales star Jonathan Davies returns on the bench for the Scarlets in their Pool 3 European Rugby Champions Cup tie with Toulon on Sunday.
Davies sat out last weekend's 31-20 loss at the Stade Felix Mayol with a hamstring injury, but is likely to make a second-half impact in the return fixture in Llanelli.
The centre’s Wales team-mate Leigh Halfpenny put the boot into Scarlets as he kicked 11 points and added a try in an impressive display in the first meeting between the sides.
Georgian giant Mamuka Gorgodze, Romain Taofifenua and skipper Guilhem Guirado ran in further scores as Toulon bagged a vital bonus-point win.
That crucial extra point puts them within reach of pool leaders and reigning champions Saracens who top the group with 14 points. Toulon trail on nine, with the Scarlets on four.
Wayne Pivac welcomes back Rob Evans and Samson Lee to his front row, the props starting alongside hooker Ken Owens for the first time this season.
Pivac has made five changes in total, but star man Liam Williams continues at full-back. “We know what's ahead of us this week. There's a lot to play for,” Pivac said.
“You don't get to play these sides that often and when you do it's a great challenge. The players love these fixtures. To have a side like Toulon at home is going to be great. We'd like to right the wrongs of last week.”
The Scarlets boast a six-game unbeaten run at home and haven’t lost at Parc y Scarlets since September 3 when Munster were 23-13 winners in the Pro12 opener.
The last time Toulon travelled to Llanelli was in January 2015 when they ran out 26-3 winners, with Mathieu Bastareaud and Bryan Habana bagging tries.
Scarlets No 8 John Barclay said: “We have to win this weekend realistically, so we will give them a good game.
“They have a lot of money, we don’t have as much money. That is the simple maths of it really.
“What we have is guys who work very hard. It is one thing having big names but there can be something said for guys who are young and full of energy.”
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The Scarlets claimed a famous 22-21 win over Toulon in their European Rugby Champions Cup clash in Llanelli.
Against a below par French side, Scott Williams, Hadleigh Parkes, Rhys Patchell and Ken Owens produced stand-out performances as man of the match Williams scored the game’s only try in the first half.
The rest of the home side’s points came from Patchell’s conversion and five penalties as Leigh Halfpenny nailed seven kicks of his own. The Wales full-back kept Toulon in the game and could have won it in the final minute but his long-range effort fell short.
It meant the home side came out on top by the narrowest of margins, the Parc y Scarlets crowd going wild at the final whistle as they celebrated one of the best results of Wayne Pivac’s tenure.
Last Sunday’s fixture between the two sides in France had seen the Scarlets try to move the giant Toulon pack around the field, and they played some more enterprising rugby in the first half.
Toulon, with their star-studded XV, were poor as they barely got started before the break but credit had to go to Pivac’s men for their performance.
With their Welsh front row of Rob Evans, Owens and Samson Lee reunited for the first time this season, the Scarlets more than patched up to the power of their opponents’ pack. Steffan Evans went close to collecting a Patchell kick, before the home fly-half gave his side a 3-0 lead.
It soon got even better. With Toulon still stuck in the changing rooms, Williams scythed his way to the line for a score which sent the home crowd wild and with Patchell converting and adding a penalty, the Welsh region were well on top.
Toulon hadn’t even got started and Ma’a Nonu’s failure to back himself to make the line after intercepting a Williams pass summed up their lethargy.
Toulon then got their first score of the day as Halfpenny landed a monster penalty, but it failed to deter the Scarlets as a searing Patchell break put them on the front foot. DTV Van der Merwe was up in support and he popped the ball up for Gareth Davies who inexplicably dropped the ball over the line.
A bust up following a scrum then saw Samu Manoa – who briefly replaced Duane Vermeulen – lucky to avoid a card for clashing with Davies and Patchell kicked the resulting penalty to make it 16-3.
In attack Toulon had offered next to nothing but their pack remained capable of winning them a penalty and two more efforts from Halfpenny narrowed their deficit to seven at the break.
Patchell and Halfpenny exchanged penalties at the start of the second period, before the latter was short with another effort from range. Toulon were much better after half time – they couldn’t have been worse – but they were hindered when prop Florian Fresia was yellow carded.
A tight encounter ensued as both sides coughed up penalties on a regular basis.
Some of referee Matthew Carley’s decisions were unpopular with the home crowd, and the game turned into a shootout between Wales duo Halfpenny and Patchell.
Two more penalties from Halfpenny – either side of one from Patchell – made it 22-18 and sent the game into the final 10 minutes with all to play for. A seventh kick from Halfpenny in the 72nd minute left one point between the teams and it was Toulon who were doing all the attacking.
Remarkably, the final few minutes saw the visitors have three chances to snatch victory. Halfpenny missed a penalty and Pierre Bernard’s drop goal fell short before Halfpenny had one last shot at goal.
From just inside the opposition half, he stepped up but was off target as the home side celebrated wildly.
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