Travelling to Wales for the second time in the space of a week, the Leinster team to play the Scarlets in Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO14 round 2 match at Parc y Scarlets (kick-off 7.35pm) has been announced by head coach Leo Cullen.
A number of Ireland’s summer tourists come back into the team, adding to the momentum provided by last Friday’s dramatic comeback win at Cardiff Blues. Jordan Larmour, the recently-announced PRO14 Young Player of the Year, will make his seasonal debut at full-back with Fergus McFadden and James Lowe completing the back-three.
The centre pairing will see Robbie Henshaw and Rory O’Loughlin in the number 12 and 13 jerseys respectively, with the Athlone man making his 25th appearance for Leinster. Ross Byrne, last week’s man-of-the-match, will have Jamison Gibson-Park, an influential second half replacement in Cardiff, alongside him at half-back.
Leinster will field an all-Ireland international front row as Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Tadhg Furlong get set for their first run-outs of the new season, with the returning Devin Toner and Ian Nagle starting behind them in the second row.
Josh Murphy and captain Rhys Ruddock are joined by Jack Conan in the loose forwards, the Wicklow man coming in at number 8 for what will be his 75th Leinster cap. In all, Leo Cullen had made 11 changes to the side that edged out Cardiff 27-26.
Speaking ahead of the trip to Llanelli, winger McFadden said: “There’s a big rivalry between Leinster and Scarlets, regardless of us beating them in the final last year. They knocked us out in the (PRO14) semi the year before and for large parts of last season, they were playing the best rugby in the competition. They’re going to be looking for blood.”
LEINSTER (v Scarlets): Jordan Larmour; Fergus McFadden, Rory O’Loughlin, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, Ian Nagle, Josh Murphy, Rhys Ruddock (capt), Jack Conan.
Replacements: James Tracy, Peter Dooley, Andrew Porter, Mick Kearney, Max Deegan, Luke McGrath, Noel Reid, Joe Tomane.