Samson Lee: Prop targets Wales return says Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac
Prop Samson Lee is determined to reclaim his place as first choice Wales tighthead according to his Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac.
Lee, 24, suffered a knee injury in last season's Pro12 final win over Munster and missed Wales' summer tour.
Exeter's Tomas Francis was preferred for much of Wales' 2017 Six Nations campaign with Lee mainly deputising.
"Clearly his objective is to get back the number three jersey for Wales," said Pivac.
"He's very determined and motivated. The loosehead props in training will tell you he's a different machine at the moment."
After being ruled out of Wales summer victories against Tonga and Samoa, Lee is set to return to action for the Scarlets in the pre-season friendly against Bristol at Clifton RFC on Saturday, 19 August.
Pivac says the prop is keen to add new facets to his game in a bid to win back his Wales starting spot.
"Samson's skill-set has improved over the last 12 months and he's done a lot of work on his passing skills," said Pivac.
"We do a lot of work so we can play the style of game we play and the forwards know we have to catch and pass under pressure and he's improved.
"The focus is always on the set-piece, it's about getting the balance right in his game and I think he's going to have a big season."
Scarlets are hopeful of opening their 2017-18 Pro14 season at home against South Africa's Southern Kings on Saturday, 2 September with a fully fit squad.
Wales forwards Rob Evans and Jake Ball are the only members of Pivac's squad currently carrying injuries but they should return ahead of the match against the Kings for the Scarlets final pre-season-match against Gloucester on 25 August.
Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny could play against the Kings after reporting to training early this week.
Halfpenny's fellow British and Irish Lions Jonathan Davies and Ken Owens, who'll resume training next week, might be rested at the start of the season.
"We're looking at possibly making Leigh available should he tick all the boxes," said Pivac.
"We'll look at the other two next week to see where they're at, but we won't put any pressure on them to be ready and we won't play them any sooner than we need to."