Guinness PRO12: Scarlets take on Ulster while Leinster face Glasgow in final rematch
Last Updated: 06/09/14 8:29am
Wayne Pivac faces a tough Ulster challenge in his first competitive match as head coach of the Scarlets.
Pivac took the reins over the summer after the departure of Simon Easterby and in the first Guinness PRO12 contest faces last year’s semi-finalists at Parc y Scarlets.
He has picked 12 internationals in his starting XV as well as No 8 Rory Pitman, South African lock Johan Snyman and Welsh prop Phil John.
"Ulster have been a quality side for a number of years and have been in a constant in the play-offs in recent years," Pivac told the Scarlets’ official website.
"We'd like to improve on our sixth place (from last year), to do that we have to be able to compete against the Ulster's and Leinster's of the competition on a weekly basis. There's no better team to have first up at home.
"I'm very much looking forward to the first competitive game of the season at home, here at Parc y Scarlets.”
South African trio Louis Ludik, Franco van der Merwe and Wiehahn Herbst will make their competitive debuts for Ulster.
Ulster, who also have a new head coach in the form of Les Kiss, also have plenty of internationals in their side although just six players who started in the playoff defeat to Leinster remain in the starting XV for this contest.
The clash at Parc y Scarlets will be shown live on Sky Sports 1 HD and will be followed by the contest between defending champions Leinster and Glasgow in a rematch of last year’s Grand Final.
Flanker Rob Harley will make his 100th appearance for the Warriors in the clash at Scotstoun Stadium, while prop Alex Allan and hooker Fraser Brown will both make their first competitive starts.
Prop Euan Murray completes a fresh front row after he returned to Glasgow after spending the last seven years playing for clubs in England and France.
However it is Isaac Boss who has grabbed much of the pre-match headlines, the scrum-half in line to become the first player to play 100 matches for two different Irish provinces after being named in the Leinster starting XV.
Leinster retain the tried and tested front row of Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Mike Ross but only five other players who started the victory over Glasgow in last year’s final will start again on Saturday.
The remaining clash on Saturday sees Connacht take on the Dragons at the Sportsground. Quinn Roux, Ian Porter and Niyi Adeolokun have all been handed debuts for the home side.
There are also plenty of new faces for the Dragons with new captain Lee Byrne making his debut alongside Boris Stankovich, Lloyd Fairbrother, Rynard Landman and Andy Powell.
Watch Scarlets v Ulster and Glasgow v Leinster live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 2.30pm on Saturday.