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- Guinness PRO12
- 8th Feb 2013
- KO 19:30
- Ground: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli
- Att: 5,886
Scarlets v Connacht - RaboDirect PRO12 preview
Connacht have made a number of changes to their side to they face the Scarlets in the RaboDirect PRO12 on Friday.
Brett Wilkinson, Jason Harris Wright and skipper Nathan White make up the front-row trio.
Mick Kearney starts in the second-row alongside Connacht's highest capped player Michael Swift.
Eoin McKeon returned from injury last week and starts at No 8, joining flankers Andrew Browne and Johnny O'Connor in the back row.
In the backline, Tiernan O'Halloran is named at full back. Danie Poolman and Fetu'u Vainikolo are named on the wings.
Kyle Tonetti will earn his first start for Connacht this season following a lengthy battle with injury. He will start at inside centre in a partnership with Eoin Griffin.
The half-back pairing of Dan Parks and Kieran Marmion remains.
The Scarlets, meanwhile, are strengthened with some returns from injury and are also able to welcome back Welsh international back-row Josh Turnbull.
Scarlets captain Rob McCusker returns to the pack after a sinus injury to lead his team and there are also returns to the pack for second row George Earle and young tighthead Samson Lee.
Young fly-half Owen Williams is rewarded with another start. He will partner scrum-half Aled Davies.
Andy Fenby, Kristian Phillips and Gareth Owen are the back-three and complete the Scarlets team.
Scarlets: 15 Gareth Owen, 14 Andy Fenby, 13 Nick Reynolds, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Kristian Phillips, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Kieran Murphy, 7 Josh Turnbull, 6 Rob McCusker (capt), 5 Johan Synman, 4 George Earle, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Emyr Phillips, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Shaun Hopkins, 18 Deacon Manu, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Lewis Rawlins, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Gareth Maule.
Connacht: 15 Tiernan O'Halloran, 14 Danie Poolman, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Kyle Tonetti, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Johnny O'Connor, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Mick Kearney, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Nathan White (capt), 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Rodney Ah You, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 Willie Faloon, 20 John Muldoon, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Gavin Duffy.
What they said...
Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby
"This is the first of four very important games for us in our play-off ambitions; there is still a lot of rugby left and teams right through the league table can easily ramp up points during these period so we have to make these next four games count," he told the club's official website.
"We have to set a platform ourselves in this next block of games and the players know full well what we need to achieve over the next few weeks.
"The good thing is that we have seen some real ambition from some of our emerging players in the past fortnight; they have really stepped up and that's a real positive for the Scarlets squad.
"It's a big game for us, Connacht are a well-coached side and are very competitive, they have some quality players in their ranks and experience in key positions like Dan Parks at 10; they can also can build continuity in their side at this period of the season, without losing so many internationals as us."
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Friday 27th February|
|19:35||Ospreys vs Leinster|
|19:35||Ulster vs Scarlets|
|Saturday 28th February|
|19:15||Munster vs Glasgow Warriors|
|Sunday 1st March|
|12:45||Cardiff Blues vs Edinburgh|
|17:00||Zebre vs Dragons|
|17:15||Connacht vs Treviso|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:35||Cardiff Blues vs Connacht|
|19:35||Glasgow Warriors vs Zebre|
|Saturday 7th March|
|14:40||Ospreys vs Munster|
|17:15||Scarlets vs Leinster|
|18:00||Benetton Treviso vs Edinburgh|
|Sunday 8th March|
|16:00||Dragons vs Ulster|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:35||Leinster vs Glasgow|
|19:35||Ulster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 28th March|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Zebre|
|14:40||Scarlets vs Edinburgh|
|17:15||Munster vs Connacht|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Cardiff Blues|
|19:35||Benetton Treviso vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 11th April|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Munster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Scarlets|
|14:40||Connacht vs Ulster|
|Sunday 12th April|
|16:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Leinster|
|Friday 24th April|
|19:35||Edinburgh vs Zebre|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|Dragons 25 - 30 Connacht|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Glasgow 19 - 16 Ospreys|
|Scarlets 25 - 25 Munster|
|Friday 20th February|
|Edinburgh 17 - 20 Ulster|
|Leinster 29 - 8 Zebre|
|Benetton Treviso 40 - 24 Cardiff Blues|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Leinster 14 - 16 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Zebre 10 - 54 Glasgow|
|Scarlets 32 - 14 Connacht|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Munster 33 - 16 Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 13th February|
|Edinburgh 24 - 16 Ospreys|
|Ulster 43 - 3 Benetton Treviso|
|Sunday 11th January|
|Ospreys 22 - 11 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Benetton Treviso 20 - 24 Ulster|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Zebre 7 - 31 Munster|
|Cardiff Blues 13 - 22 Leinster|
|Friday 9th January|
|Connacht 13 - 16 Edinburgh|
|Glasgow 22 - 7 Scarlets|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com