Preview: Pro14, Scarlets v Leinster

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 13:45
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CATCH-UP MATCH: Leinster coach Leo Cullen has been forced into a number of changes for the encounter with the Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets on Friday.

The original fixture was scheduled for last Saturday, but with Dublin Airport closed due to Storm Emma, the Leinster squad was unable to take flight.

Cullen is able to call upon the services of a number of returning players while other players have been released from Ireland duty to line-up in blue.

There is a welcome back for Seán O'Brien, who also captains the side, having recovered from a hip injury and he lines out in the back row for his 115th cap for Leinster.

O'Brien is joined in the back row by Josh Murphy and by Jack Conan.

In the front five, Ed and Bryan Byrne again start together with Michael Bent at tighthead prop, while behind them Ross Molony is joined by Scott Fardy.

In the backs Dave Kearney lines out at full back with Barry Daly on the right wing and James Lowe on the left.

The centre combination features Noel Reid and Rory O'Loughlin while the half backs are also an all-St Michael's combination with Nick McCarthy at nine and Ross Byrne outside him at No.10.

On the bench Leinster Academy scrumhalf Charlie Rock is in line to make his first appearance of the season.

* Meanwhile Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac has made just one personnel change to the backline that started against Ulster a few weeks ago, with Ryan Conbeer replacing Corey Baldwin, who has returned to the Under-20 squad for the Six Nations clash against Italy.

Two changes in the pack see Phil Price getting his first start in a Scarlets jersey with Dylan Evans unavailable due to illness. James Davies' selection for Wales, winning his first cap on Sunday, sees Will Boyde line up at No.8 with Josh Macleod moving to the openside flank.


Scarlets: 15 Tom Williams, 14 Ioan Nicholas, 13 Paul Asquith, 12 Steff Hughes (captain), 11 Ryan Conbeer, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Will Boyde, 7 Josh Macleod, 6 Tadhg Beirne, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Steve Cummins, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Phil Price.
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Rhys Fawcett, 18 Simon Gardiner, 19 Josh Helps, 20 Lewis Rawlins, 21 Declan Smith, 22 Ioan Hughes, 23 Tom Varndell.

Leinster: 15 Dave Kearney, 14 Barry Daly, 13 Rory O'Loughlin, 12 Noel Reid, 11 James Lowe, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Nick McCarthy, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Seán O'Brien (captain), 6 Josh Murphy, 5 Scott Fardy, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Ed Byrne.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Peter Dooley, 18 Adam Coyle, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Charlie Rock, 22 Ciarán Frawley, 23 Adam Byrne.

Date: Friday, March 9
Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli
Kick-off: 19.35 (19.35 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Ben Whitehouse (Wales), Simon Rees (Wales)
TMO: Neil Hennessey (Wales)

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Chiefs v Highlanders 06h35 Hamilton
Rebels v Hurricanes 08h45 Melbourne
Scarlets v La Rochelle 17h30 Parc y Scarlets
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Glasgow Warriors 17 14 1 2 70
Munster 17 10 0 7 54
Cheetahs 18 10 0 8 52
Cardiff Blues 17 9 0 8 42
Connacht 18 6 0 12 34
Ospreys 16 6 0 10 30
Zebre 17 4 0 13 22
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 17 13 1 3 64
Scarlets 17 12 1 4 61
Edinburgh 18 13 0 5 59
Ulster 16 9 1 6 46
Treviso 17 8 0 9 40
Dragons 18 2 2 14 17
Kings 17 1 0 16 9