Leigh Halfpenny: Wales full-back to make return from concussion

Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams
Leigh Halfpenny has trained with Wales during the Six Nations, including here alongside Liam Williams
Pro14: Scarlets v Cheetahs
Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli Date: Sunday, 24 February Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Coverage: Live score updates on the BBC Sport website and app

Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny will make his long-awaited return from concussion when Scarlets host Cheetahs in the Pro14 in Llanelli on Sunday.

The return is too late for him to have faced England in the Six Nations the previous day, but means a recall later in the tournament is an option.

The 30-year-old has not played since 10 November, when he was injured as Wales beat Australia.

Halfpenny has suffered several setbacks in his attempts to return sooner.

Scarlets hoped he would play against Benetton on 16 February, denying him the chance to prove his fitness before Wales host England in the Six Nations.

He had returned to full-contact training with Scarlets before it was felt he should not take the field last weekend.

Halfpenny was injured in a challenge by Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi which was unpunished, but described by Wales head coach Warren Gatland as "reckless".

The head blow led to Halfpenny missing Wales' autumn wins against Tonga and South Africa as well as their opening two Six Nations victories against France and Italy.

Liam Williams and Jonah Holmes have since played at full-back with Saracens' Williams Wales' first choice to date.

Halfpenny will be joined by Wales squad colleagues prop Wyn Jones, hooker Ryan Elias, lock Jake Ball and fly-half Rhys Patchell, who is on Scarlets' bench.

The quintet have been released for regional duty by Wales coach Warren Gatland.

After facing England Wales to to Murrayfield to face Scotland on Saturday, 9 March and end their tournament against Ireland in Cardiff a week later.

Banned Cheetah

Cheetahs are without centre Nico Lee, who begins his 13 week ban for "clearing the contents of his nose on to the face of an opposing player".

"It's a must-win game for us, I am expecting a response this weekend," said Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac.

"It is a home game and we have a proud record at home and we want that to continue.

"I am pretty sure the boys will be up for the game and fully motivated because a lot of them are disappointed with individual performances from last weekend."

Scarlets: Leigh Halfpenny; Johnny McNicholl, Kieron Fonotia, Paul Asquith, Ioan Nicholas; Dan Jones, Kieran Hardy; Wyn Jones, Ryan Elias, Werner Kruger, Jake Ball, Josh Helps, Josh Macleod, Dan Davis, Uzair Cassiem.

Replacements: Marc Jones, Dylan Evans, Javan Sebastian, Lewis Rawlins, Tom Phillips, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Rhys Patchell, Steff Hughes.

Cheetahs: Louis Fouche; William Small-Smith, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Dries Swanepoel, Rabz Maxwane ;Tian Schoeman, Shaun Venter (Captain); Ox Nche, Marnus van der Merwe, Aranos Coetzee, Walt Steenkamp, JP du Preez, Abongile Nonkontwana, Junior Pokomela, Gerhard Olivier.

Replacements: Jacques du Toit, Reinach Venter, Luan de Bruin, Sintu Manjezi, Jasper Wiese, Henco Venter, Rudy Paige, Tian Meyer.

Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)

Assistant referees: Adam Jones (WRU), Chris Busby (IRFU)

TMO: John Mason (WRU)

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