Ken Owens poised to answer Scarlets back-row call after Josh Macleod worries

Ken Owens played his first professional game at hooker in the 5 January Pro14 win over Dragons
Ken Owens played his first professional game at number 8 in the 5 January Pro14 win over Dragons
European Champions Cup Pool Four: Scarlets v Leicester Tigers
Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli Date: Saturday, 12 January Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Wales and the BBC Sport website

Wales hooker Ken Owens could play number eight for the second week running as Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac juggles with an injury crisis.

Scarlets are without seven back-row forwards for Saturday's European Champions Cup visit of Leicester.

Josh Macleod is close to a return after a foot injury but might not be risked.

"We have a decision to make on Josh because there is a risk with bringing him back a week or two early from a stress fracture," said Pivac.

"We do know that if it does go again there is a plate in there for life and a 12-week recovery, so this is the real-life situation we have to deal with.

"We could see Ken at eight. If Josh is not there it will be a front row covering him."

James Davies, Aaron Shingler, Will Boyde, Blade Thomson and Uzair Cassiem are all unavailable, with Pivac critical of tournament rules preventing him from registering Tom Phillips to play in their final two pool matches.

Josh Macloed
Josh Macloed risks further injury if he is rushed back into action, warns Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac

Scarlets are out of the running for a quarter-final place having lost all four of their pool games so far.

Owens, 32, played as an emergency number eight in Scarlets' 22-13 win against Dragons on 5 January.

Speaking on the BBC Rugby Union Weekly podcast, the hooker capped 59 times by Wales and twice by the British and Irish Lions said he had not played in the back row since age-grade rugby.

"The worst thing was the ball only came to the number eight's feet once... and the one we had going forward the ball bobbled out," he added.

"So the front row were not too happy when we were going forward, going for a penalty and I managed to lose control of the ball at the back.

"But I said 'come on, I had a day to learn the job so I haven't done too bad'."

Wales backs Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Patchell are also missing for the visit of Leicester, with Scarlets looking to register their first win in this season's Champions Cup.