Now it seems Stephen Jones will be staying, alongside Regan King, there is a little more hope for the region. Presuming the rumours about Popham don't come to fruition too, we can have a look at what sort of team the Scarlets can put out, and what positions they need to be looking to strengthen.
15. Morgan Stoddart/ Daniel Evans(?)
14. and 11. Mark Jones/ Dafydd James/ Darren Daniel
13. Regan King (with Matthew Watkins and Nathan Brew as cover for OC or wing if needed)
12. Gavin Evans/ Jon Davies
10. Stephen Jones/ Rhys Priestland
9. ____/ Liam Davies
1. Iestyn Thomas
2. Matthew Rees
3. ____/ Ben Broster
4. and 5. ____/Lou Reed
6. Simon Easterby(?)/ James Bater
7. Gavin Thomas/ Jon Edwards
8. Alix Popham/ Dafydd Jones
Granted the above ain't complete - I was just trying to find 2 players for each position, ideally an experienced player and a promising up-and-comer.
The obvious weaknesses to me are in the front 5. A front row with Iestyn Thomas and Matthew Rees in is fine, but there's no-one coming up to challenge them (the Schwalger deal is only for this season right?). And we know about the lack of tighthead talent at Stradey. It'd be nice to have Broster developing as an understudy to a decent quality TH, but who have we got? Manu? And we've got a similar situation with Lou Reed.
There's a certain amount of flexibility in the back-row (if Easterby is staying - there's another rumour...) and Jon Edwards looks to offer something. I'd be tempted to back him ahead of Gavin Thomas, looking at his potential.
Then my only other concern is the loss of Dwayne Peel. I don't think either of Cattle/Davies have the talent to step-up for the major games. But Davies is young and could develop into something. It'd be nice to have someone with some real experience to lead him though.
Anyway, what do you think? What do the Scarlets need to challenge next year?