Scarlets could have record four Lions, says coach Wayne Pivac

By Cennydd Davies BBC Wales Sport
Jonathan Davies
Jonathan Davies was preferred to Brian O'Driscoll for the third Lions Test v Australia in 2013

Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac hopes the region could have a record number of players on the British and Irish Lions tour in New Zealand this summer.

Lions coach Warren Gatland names his squad on 19 April and Pivac believes a number of players are in with a chance.

"I think we are in a position at the Scarlets where I am hoping we get a record number, I wouldn't be surprised if we get four," said Pivac.

Scarlets, formed in 2003, have never had more than two players on a tour.

Pivac added: "Certainly there are a group who put their hands up during the Six Nations."

A party of four players would equal the number who toured from the Llanelli club from which the Scarlets region was formed.

Those four on the 1974 tour of South Africa were Phil Bennett, JJ Williams, Roy Bergiers and Tommy David.

Scarlets on Lions tours
2013: Jonathan Davies, George North
2009: Matthew Rees, Stephen Jones
2005: Dwayne Peel

New Zealander Pivac would not specify which of his players he thought was in the running this time, but centre Jonathan Davies played in all three Tests against Australia in 2013.

Full-back Liam Williams, centre Scott Williams, hooker Ken Owens and prop Rob Evans all played for Wales in the Six Nations while flanker John Barclay captained Scotland during their campaign.

Pivac believes the Pro12 Judgement Day derbies at Cardiff on Saturday, when Scarlets face Newport Gwent Dragons, is a perfect opportunity to push Lions selection hopes.

"We have got one more game this weekend where players can show they are worthy of representing the Lions if not Wales, it's an exciting weekend," he said.

Scott Williams and Liam Williams
Scott Williams and Liam Williams both played all five games for Wales in the 2017 Six Nations

Centre Davies is likely to return after being rested for the 51-5 victory over Treviso but flanker Aaron Shingler (knee) and outside-half Rhys Patchell (calf) will miss the game through injury.

Pivac believes the Lions have a good chance of adding to the only test series win against the All Blacks back in 1971.

"It's all going to come down to selection and not only the squad but once the squad is together in New Zealand," he said.

Pivac, who coached provincial side Auckland before moving to Wales, says the home side's preparation will also have a bearing on the series.

"The All Blacks are vulnerable traditionally in June in the that first Test, so it will be interesting to see what they are doing," he added.

"I believe they are trying to get a [warm-up] game because they will be worried by the fact that the Lions do have some lead-in games.

"The Lions could have a bit of an advantage depending on the All Blacks preparation, certainly it's going to be a great series and everyone is looking forward to it."

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