Leinster v Scarlets: Welsh region aiming to cement play-off spot
Last Updated: 04/03/17 7:51pm
Scarlets take on Guinness PRO12 table toppers Leinster at the RDS on Saturday (kick-off 7.35pm) looking to further consolidate their place in the top four.
Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac has named an unchanged starting XV after his troops registered their first victory in 14 years at Munster's Thomond Park last time out.
Reserve scrum-half Declan Smith comes into the matchday squad after being released from Wales U20s camp in the only change to the 23.
Scarlets will be looking to secure a second victory on the bounce to keep fifth-place Ulster at bay, who are currently only five points adrift with a game in hand.
"For us it's really important to maximise the opportunities in these two away Irish games," said Pivac. "There are points on offer and we want to get as many as we can.
"That was a really big result for us against Munster and we've got another big challenge this weekend against Leinster.
"The result this weekend is huge for us. We don't really want to be leaving it down to that last weekend because there's enough riding on that game as it is without top four riding on it as well!
"There's a long way still go but it'll be feet on the ground this week and prepare as normal."
Leinster coach Leo Cullen has made four changes to the starting XV that beat the Dragons in their last outing.
The only change in the backs sees scrum-half Luke McGrath linking up with Ross Byrne in the half-backs.
In the pack Ireland international Richardt Strauss captains the team for the first time in the RDS as he comes in at hooker, packing down alongside props Peter Dooley and Michael Bent.
Hayden Triggs comes in to partner Ross Molony in the second row, while Dan Leavy returns from Ireland duty to wear the No 7 jersey.
Leinster: 15 Joey Carbery, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Zane Kirchner, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Fergus McFadden, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath, 1 Peter Dooley, 2 Richardt Strauss (c), 3 Michael Bent, 4 Ross Molony, 5 Hayden Triggs, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 7 Dan Leavy, 8 Jack Conan.
Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Mike Ross, 19 Mike McCarthy, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Tom Daly, 23 Barry Daly.
Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Steff Hughes, 12 Hadleigh Parkes (c), 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Ryan Elias, 3 Werner Kruger, 4 Tom Price, 5 Tadhg Beirne, 6 Aaron Shingler, 7 James Davies, 8 Will Boyde.
Replacements: 16 Dafydd Hughes, 17 Luke Garrett, 18 Nicky Thomas, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Morgan Allen, 21 Declan Smith, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Ioan Nicholas.