Wales pair Leigh Halfpenny and Samson Lee add to Scarlets injuries

Samson Lee
Samson Lee after picking up his facial injury two minutes into the pre-season friendly against Bath

Wales pair Leigh Halfpenny and Samson Lee have added to the Scarlets growing injury list before the Pro14 opener against Ulster on Saturday in Belfast.

Lee suffered a fractured cheekbone while Halfpenny picked up a groin injury in the pre-season friendly defeat against Bath last Friday.

New South Africa signing Uzair Cassiem also suffered a calf injury and is expected to be out for four weeks.

Scarlets will be without 14 players in total for the league opener.

"Samson's had a plate put into his face," said head coach Wayne Pivac.

"He had a head clash early on and unfortunately had a couple of breaks.

"The plate being inserted which is a good thing in terms of time away from the game. He is back in work today and hopefully be available next week."

Halfpenny has a tight groin but could also return next week, while back-rower Cassiem will have a scan today.

The trio join Paul Asquith, Jake Ball, Will Boyde, Angus O'Brien, Dylan Evans, Jonathan Evans, Wyn Jones, Johnny McNicholl, Hadleigh Parkes, Lewis Rawlins, Aaron Shingler on the sidelines.

Leigh Halfpenny
Leigh Halfpenny joined Scarlets from Toulon in 2017

Wales lock Ball has suffered a small setback after picking up a shoulder/bicep issue in his return match against Bristol in a pre-season friendly earlier this month.

It was the opposite shoulder to the one he had surgery on following the injury he suffered playing for Wales against New Zealand in November 2017 that ruled him out for the rest of the season.

Pivac remains upbeat about the season despite the early setback.

"These injuries happen," said Pivac.

"Some are surgeries that get done in the off-season. if you get knocked out in round robin, those guys are normally ready for round one, if you go through to the final that puts pressure on for the start of the season.

"I am excited for the season. We have a hell of a challenge early on, we are using our squad from round one, we are putting pressure on ourselves from round one.

"Everyone can get through a season with your top side our every week, that would be a dream, but it's being able to duck and dive, dip and weave and get the job done no matter what is thrown at us."

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