Hardy raring to go after Six Nations disappointment

Scrum-half Kieran Hardy is ready to return to Scarlets duty having fallen down the Wales No. 9 pecking order during the Six Nations. Hardy, 27, featured off the bench for 12 minutes against England but that was his sole outing in a Wales jersey this campaign, with Rhys Webb and Tomos Williams vying for the starting jersey.

Scarlets head coach Peel confirmed Hardy is available for the visit of the Sharks on Saturday (5pm kick-off), and is keen to return to action.

Asked if players generally need an arm around them following an underwhelming or disappointing international campaign, Peel said: "It depends on the player in all honesty. Some players need that, some don't. From my conversation with Kieran over the weekend, he was really looking forward to coming back in.

"As much as the physical side of the Six Nations is very difficult for someone like Ken (Owens) obviously who has played in all the games, sometimes the mental intensity of it as well can be equally as draining. It all depends on your experience in the Six Nations, how it's gone for you, and with some people especially if they haven't played that much they're really keen to come back and play some rugby, and that's probably where Kieran is. He's come back in today [Tuesday] and has been sprightly, so is looking forward to it."

As for Wales captain Owens, he is having the week off from Scarlets duties, having become a dad for the second time with wife Carys in the days leading up to Wales' Six Nations finale in Paris.

"Ken will have the week off this week. He's obviously dealing with a baby as well so I'm sure he's keeping busy," Peel said.

Owens was front and centre of negotiations which saw Wales' threat of strike action during the championship called off, while he was a mainstay for Warren Gatland on the field too.

Asked how the Scarlets will ensure Owens is not mentally drained upon his return, Peel said: "I've known Ken for a long time so I suppose it's an honest conversation with him to see where he's at, and that's what I've done with all the boys. I'll see where he's at towards the end of this week but knowing Ken like I do I'm sure we'll make the right decision for him and I'm sure he'll be ready to come back in next week. We'll see.

"He's probably had an emotional time of it between everything, some off-field issues, him being captain of Wales when all that was going on was probably a stressful time for him. I know how much it means to him as well. I'm sure he's looking forward to getting back on the field, he's happiest on the field, [more] than in the gym anyway, I know that!"