Scarlets without 18 players for Zebre, says Wayne Pivac

Richard Kelly
Richard Kelly joined Scarlets in 2012 and made 18 appearances for the region during his first season

Scarlets are without 18 players for their Pro 12 match against Zebre at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.

Rhys Priestland and Scott Williams are among eight Scarlets in Wales' 34-man squad for the autumn Tests.

Boss Wayne Pivac says another 10 are injured, including lock Richard Kelly, out for four months after breaking his arm against Leicester on Saturday.

But Pivac still expects a good performance: "We're not going to be making excuses because of personnel."

The New Zealander added: "We're working through a mixture of players to get a squad together.

"It's a great opportunity for other young players coming through. Expect to see some new faces come Saturday.

Wayne Pivac on Zebre match
"With our issues that we've got internally, we're not taking them lightly. It's going to be about the performance in the jersey."

Kelly, 27, suffered a fractured radius during the Scarlets' victory against Leicester in the European Champions Cup.

He was replaced by 24-year-old Lewis Rawlins, before he too was substituted with a hamstring injury.

Winger Jordan Williams is also unavailable for selection after suffering concussion.

Back row forward Rob McCusker is suffering with a calf strain, while young scrum-half Connor Lloyd is injured as well.

Scarlets captain Ken Owens is out for up to 12 weeks after undergoing neck surgery at the end of September.

Ken Owens
Ken Owens has won 26 Wales caps

New Zealand centre Regan King has returned to training, but will not be available for a few weeks as he completes his rehabilitation on a hamstring injury.

Hooker Emyr Phillips, props Samson Lee and Rhodri Jones, and lock Jake Ball are in the Wales camp preparing for the internationals in November.

Scrum-half Rhodri Williams and full-back Liam Williams are also training with Wales ahead of Tests against Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa.

"It's a fair chunk of players to come out of the team. [They're] quality players," said Pivac.

However, there is better news on number eight Rory Pitman, who has recovered from a neck injury suffered at the weekend.

Lock George Earle is available after taking a knock on the head in the defeat to Toulon in the opening round of the European Champions Cup.

Props Peter Edwards and Jacobie Adriaanse have also returned to fitness.

Italian minnows Zebre are second from bottom in the Pro 12 table, although they beat Ulster in September.

"With our issues that we've got internally, we're not taking them lightly," said Pivac.

"It's a big game for us. We need to back up these last few performances. It's going to be about the performance in the jersey."

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