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Sunday's game will be Scarlet's first in this season's Champions Cup after the postponement of matches at Bristol and at home to Bordeaux-Begles
Sunday’s game will be Scarlets’ first in this season’s Champions Cup after the postponement of matches at Bristol and at home to Bordeaux-Begles
Venue: Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux Date: Sunday, 16 January Time: 15:15 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary BBC Radio Wales south west FM & Digital, BBC Radio Cymru 2 and on the BBC Sport website and app. Report on BBC Sport website & app.

Jonathan Davies returns from injury to lead the Scarlets for their first outing in this season’s European Champions Cup – a trip to Bordeaux-Begles on Sunday.

The region’s first two fixtures in the competition were called off for Covid-related issues.

Scarlets make six changes from the New Year’s Day win over the Ospreys – their only game since November.

Teenager Louis Bielle-Biarrey makes just a second appearance for Bordeaux.

After his debut in last weekend’s Top 14 victory against Brive, the 18-year-old will make his European debut at full-back. The French league leaders recall Jefferson Poirot, Matthieu Jalibert and UJ Seuteni.

Bordeaux are without a win in the competition so far, having lost 13-16 at home to Leicester in their opening match before their visit to Llanelli was cancelled.

Scarlets’ opening-round match at Bristol was forfeited and marked as a 28-0 defeat when they were unable to fulfil the fixture because of quarantine restrictions after returning from an aborted United Rugby Championship trip to South Africa.

Davies returns for Sunday’s game to partner Scott Williams at centre in a back division that shows just one other change.

Stand-off Sam Costelow has recovered from a shoulder issue to partner Gareth Davies at half-back.

Wyn Jones is a loose-head replacement for Rob Evans, who has a knee ligament injury, while the return of WillGriff John on the other side of hooker Ryan Elias completes an all-Wales front row.

Aaron Shingler comes into the second row and Tomas Lezana replaces open-side flanker Josh Macleod, who suffered a hamstring injury against Ospreys.

Among the replacements, 20-year-old back-rower Carwyn Tuipulotu will make his European debut if he comes off the bench.

Bordeaux Begles: L Bielle-Biarrey; G Cros, U Seuteni, Y Falatea-Moefana, S Cordero; F Trinh-Duc, M Lucu (capt); T Paiva, C Maynadier, V Cobilas, T Jolmes, J Marais, C Woki, B Vergnes, A Roussel.

Replacements: J Dweba, J Poirot, B Tameifuna, K Douglas, P Bochaton, Y Lesgorgues, M Jalibert, F Mori

Scarlets: L Williams; J McNicholl, J Davies (capt), S Williams, S Evans; S Costelow, G Davies; W Jones, R Elias, W John, S Lousi, A Shingler, B Thomson, T Lezana, S Kalamafoni.

Replacements: M Jones, P Price, S Lee, M Jones, C Tuipulotu, D Blacker, R Patchell, I Nicholas

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel: “The boys are looking forward to this, everyone is primed and ready. It is going to be a very difficult game against a side who are flying at the moment. We know it is going to be a big challenge, but we feel we are in a good place and it will be good for the boys to play in front of fans again as well.

“France is always a special place to play in European competition. You have to be prepared to go there and play because you are going to be under the pump at times.

“When you think of all the big scalps Welsh teams have taken in France, they have been under the pump in a big way, you have to stick in the game and dig in and then you have a chance. It is about having that mentality to fight for the 80 minutes and see where you are at the end of it.”

Match facts

  • The clubs have only met twice during the competition – the 1998-99 season which saw each side win their home match.
  • Scarlets have lost their past five away games against TOP 14 teams in the Champions Cup but have scored more than 20 points in each of their past three away games in France.
  • Bordeaux are unbeaten in their four home games against teams from Wales in the Champions Cup, winning three and drawing one.
  • Six of the French side’s past seven pool stage games in the competition have been decided by single-figure margins, winning four and losing three. Four saw a winning margin of fewer than five points.

Match officials

Referee: Karl Dickson (England)

Assistant referees: Mike Hudson & John Meredith (England)

TMO: Tom Foley (England)

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