Ken Owens: Scarlets skipper expects silence from Sale's Mike Phillips

By Steve TuckerBBC Wales Sport
Ken Owens
Ken Owens has made 191 appearances for Scarlets, scoring 14 tries
European Champions Cup Pool 3
Date: Saturday, 15 October Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli Kick-off: 19:35 BST
Coverage: Live score updates on the BBC Sport website

Scarlets captain Ken Owens is expecting the silent treatment from former team-mate Mike Phillips ahead of their European Champions Cup clash with Sale.

Ex-Scarlets scrum-half Phillips, 34, returns to Llanelli with Sale for their opening pool game on Saturday.

But hooker Owens admits he might have to wait to catch up with former Wales colleague Phillips.

"He probably won't speak to me for the rest of the week so I will have to catch up after the game," Owens said.

"I tried to ring him to meet for a coffee before the game in Paris last year [when Phillips played for Racing 92] and he said we are not friends until after the game, so I might leave it for a bit.

"But he loves west Wales and I am sure he will love coming down here."

With holders Saracens and former winners Toulon to come, Scarlets will be looking to get off to a good start against Sale.

Phillips began his career in Llanelli and will face a Scarlets side looking to make up for a poor European campaign last year when they were beaten in all their pool games.

"Mike is a great player who has been playing some great stuff this year," Owens continued.

"As a player he still has plenty to offer. He is a very good professional and he keeps himself in good shape. I have been watching some of his games this year and he has been one of their stand-out players."

A learning curve in Europe

Wayne Pivac
Wayne Pivac's Scarlets lost each of their group games in Europe last season

Scarlets approach the Sale match in good form having won their last three games, including a hard-fought victory against Newport Gwent Dragons on Saturday.

"It's a very tough pool, but the majority of them are tough," said head coach Wayne Pivac.

"It's a good thing from a player point of view. I would want to put myself out there against some of the best. They are going to be big challenges, but ones we are looking forward to.

"There's not a lot of pressure on us. I don't think a lot of people are putting us down to get through and that's not probably a bad thing from our point of view."