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RaboDirect PRO12 Preview: Scarlets v Leinster

RaboDirect PRO12 Preview: Scarlets v Leinster

Leinster’s proud home record was brought to an end by Glasgow Warriors last Saturday, so Joe Schmidt’s men will be all out to banish memories of that defeat when they visit the Scarlets in Llanelli.

RABODIRECT PRO12: Saturday, September 24

SCARLETS (7th) v LEINSTER (8th), Parc y Scarlets, 6.30pm (live TG4/S4C)

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Team News: The Leinster team to face the Scarlets in Saturday evening’s RaboDirect PRO12 clash in Llanelli has been named.

Nathan White will make his first start for the province after appearing as a replacement last weekend and the New Zealander is one of three changes in the pack.

Damian Browne lines up alongside Devin Toner in the second row, while Jordi Murphy comes in for his first senior start after also coming off the bench against Glasgow Warriors.

The back-line is unchanged meaning Cillian Willis partners Ian Madigan at half-back. Eoin O’Malley again lines up alongside Luke Fitzgerald at centre with David Kearney, Fionn Carr and Isa Nacewa completing the back-three.

Prop Jamie Hagan, who started Leinster’s opening three league games, said: “There’s a lot expected when you play for Leinster and we are all determined to put last weekend’s defeat to Glasgow Warriors behind us.

“It just wasn’t good enough. When you come in on a Monday morning you know that you have to be prepared to hear some home truths, the lessons learned from last weekend. We’re determined to meet this challenge head on.”

Meanwhile, back into the Scarlets starting line-up comes their 22-year-old centre Nick Reynolds, who was a leading player in Llanelli’s Welsh Premiership title win last season.

After a solid performance against an experienced Munster side, the Scarlets’ teenage full-back Dale Ford gets another start.

A former Scarlets Academy player, Ford showed his ability with the boot at a blustery Musgrave Park with some great kicking form including a monster penalty from 55 metres out.

Andy Fenby and Lee Williams take up the wing positions and in the pack Emyr Phillips is back in the front row alongside Rhys Thomas and captain Iestyn Thomas who notched up his 200th Scarlets appearance last weekend.

With Josh Turnbull ruled out by a shoulder injury. Johnathan Edwards lines up alongside Ben Morgan and Rob McCusker in the back row. Knee injury victim Lou Reed is also replaced in the second row by Aaron Shingler.

SCARLETS: Dale Ford; Lee Williams, Nick Reynolds, Gareth Maule, Andy Fenby; Dan Newton, Ruki Tipuna; Iestyn Thomas (capt), Emyr Phillips, Rhys Thomas, Aaron Shingler, Dominic Day, Rob McCusker, Johnathan Edwards, Ben Morgan.

Replacements: Craig Hawkins, Phil John, Rhodri Jones, Damian Welch, Richie Pugh, Gareth Davies, Aled Thomas, Liam Williams.

LEINSTER: Isa Nacewa; Fionn Carr, Eoin O’Malley, Luke Fitzgerald, David Kearney; Ian Madigan, Cillian Willis; Heinke van der Merwe, Richardt Strauss, Nathan White, Damian Browne, Devin Toner, Rhys Ruddock (capt), Jordi Murphy, Leo Auva’a.

Replacements: Jason Harris-Wright, Jack McGrath, Jamie Hagan, Mark Flanagan, Ciaran Ruddock, John Cooney, Brendan Macken, Darren Hudson.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Neil Hennessy, Hugh Watkins (both Wales)
Television Match Official: Tony Rowlands (Wales)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Scarlets to win: 10/11; Draw: 20/1; Leinster to win: 10/11

Pre-Match Quotes: Damian Browne (Leinster) – “I think everyone is disappointed, it wasn’t the result we wanted against Glasgow at the RDS last weekend.

“But the great thing with rugby is you get another chance next weekend so I think we’re going to take all the positives out of it, learn from the mistakes we made and kick on to Scarlets this weekend.

“I think both sides will be itching for a victory, especially as it’s a big occasion for the Scarlets over there. 5,000 games is a huge achievement for their club.

“They have a very rich history over there so I’m sure their fans will be seriously getting behind their side and we know we’re going into a bit of a cauldron but there’s nothing new there.”

Nigel Davies (Scarlets) – “It is very important we respect our heritage, it’s a big part of what we are, it sets our values going forward. We’re proud of our history and this being our 5000th game.

“The best way to respect that is to put in a big performance on Saturday. Scarlets rugby is a big part of this area and most of the boys with us now have been brought up in this region, so know what it means and the responsibility to the jersey.

“It’s an important game, not just because of the occasion but we want to put in a big performance as we dropped off our standards last week (against Munster) and that frustrated these players. This week has all been about moving on being positive about the game in front of us.”

Top Scorers – 2011/12 RaboDirect PRO12: Scarlets – Points: Dan Newton 34; Tries: Andy Fenby, Rhys Thomas, Aaron Shingler 1 each; Leinster – Points: Isa Nacewa 30; Tries: Ian Madigan 2


Saturday, February 21, 2009 – Scarlets 17 Leinster 31, Parc y Scarlets
Friday, May 8, 2009 – Leinster 45 Scarlets 8, the RDS
Saturday, September 5, 2009 – Scarlets 18 Leinster 16, Parc y Scarlets
Saturday, February 20, 2010 – Leinster 27 Scarlets 14, the RDS
Friday, December 3, 2010 – Scarlets 17 Leinster 17, Parc y Scarlets
Friday, March 4, 2011 – Leinster 26 Scarlets 15, the RDS


– The Scarlets have slipped to successive defeats in the RaboDirect PRO12, but both encounters were played away from home

– The Welshmen have won four of their last five matches at Parc y Scarlets. However, they are winless in their last nine clashes with Irish provinces

– Leinster’s only win in their last four matches was a 31-10 success at home to the Newport Gwent Dragons on September 9

– Leinster slipped up at the Ospreys in their most recent away game but have not lost two in-a-row on the road since September 2010

– The Scarlets’ only win over Leinster since October 2007 was a 18-16 triumph at Parc y Scarlets on September 5, 2009