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Scarlets vs Leinster Rugby

Guinness Pro12 Round 4
Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli,
Friday, 16th October 2015, 19:35

Television: Live - TG4/BBC 2 Wales

Leinster travel over to Llanelli to take on the Scarlets having seen their representation of players at the World Cup increase to 19. Rhys Ruddock and Mike McCarthy joined up with the Ireland squad during the week and while everyone at Leinster will be pleased for the lads individually, it doesn't make Leo Cullen's job any easier for the next three weeks. It's been further compounded by a number of injuries to forwards so that of the 30 forwards listed in the Leinster senior squad, 17 of them are currently unavailable.

So it's going to be a big ask for Leinster to continue their winning form, especially away to the league leaders. The Scarlets have started their campaign with three wins from three and currently lead on points difference from Munster and Edinburgh, the two other sides with 100% records so far. In fact the win last week meant that the Scarlets have made their own bit of history by winning seven league games in a row, counting last season as well. Their success is all the more remarkable considering their appalling disciplinary record, which has seen them suffer seven yellow cards in three matches.

This week they are considerably boosted by the debut appearance of DTH van der Merwe, who they signed from Glasgow in the summer. Despite losing all four of their pool matches Canada played some great rugby at the World Cup and van der Merwe was their star, scoring a try in each game and generally looking electric every time he touched the ball.

Van der Merwe is one of four changes to the Scarlets backline as he comes in to the left wing. Aled Thomas comes in at fullback whilst there's a new halfback pairing of Aled Davies and Steven Shingler. The selection of hooker Kirby Myhill is the only change in the pack with Emyr Phillips dropping out due to injury.

For Leinster there are five changes from the team that started against the Dragons. Ross Byrne comes in to make his first senior start for Leinster at number 10. He was very impressive for the Ireland under-20s last season and he partners Isaac Boss. The other change to the backline sees Colm O'Shea replace the injured Ben Te'o at centre alongside Noel Reid, who set up two tries last weekend. The back three of Isa Nacewa, Garry Ringrose and Fergus McFadden, who scored 32 of Leinster's 37 points between them last week, are retained en masse.

In the pack, Marty Moore has passed the protocols to play after leaving the field early last week so he takes his place in the front row alongside Michael Bent and Brian Byrne who replaces Aaron Dundon at hooker. In the second row Tom Denton is fit to return alongside Ross Molony and Dan Leavy is given the number eight jersey alongside flankers Dominic Ryan and Josh van der Flier.

Cullen will have been greatly encouraged by the display of his side two weeks ago, in what was one of the more entertaining games seen at the RDS in the last couple of years. He would have been particularly impressed with the contribution of his younger players. However it might be asking a bit much of his team to win this week, especially away to a Scarlets team with experience in key areas in the form of John Barclay, Regan King and Steven Shingler.

Hopefully Leinster can win, but a losing bonus point wouldn't be a bad return for their efforts.

Team Lineups


Leinster Rugby
Teams Aled Thomas 15 Isa Nacewa (C)
Hadleigh Parkes 14 Fergus McFadden
Regan King 13 Colm O'Shea
Gareth Owen 12 Noel Reid
DTH van der Merwe 11 Garry Ringrose
Steven Shingler 10 Ross Byrne
Aled Davies 9 Isaac Boss

Rob Evans 1 Michael Bent
Kirby Myhill 2 Bryan Byrne
Peter Edwards 3 Marty Moore
George Earle 4 Ross Molony
Tom Price 5 Tom Denton
Aaron Shingler6 Dominic Ryan
James Davies 7 Josh van der Flier
John Barclay (C) 8 Dan Leavy

Replacements Ryan Elias 16 James Treacy
Phil John 17 Peter Dooley
Will Taylor 18 Jamie Hagan
Tom Phillips 19 Tadgh Beirne
Jack Condy 20
Tony Ryan
Rhodri Williams 21 Luke McGrath
Dan Jones 22 Cathal Marsh
Tom Williams 23 Mick McGrath

Not Considered
Due to Injury

Edward Byrne,
Mick Kearney,
Jack Conan,
Ben Te'o,
Royce Burke-Flynn
Officials Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (IRFU, 62nd competition game),
Assistant Referees: Wayne Davies, Greg Morgan (both WRU),
Citing Commissioner: Aurwel Morgan ( WRU),
TMO: Tim Hayes (WRU)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2015-10-15