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- Guinness PRO12
- 30th Mar 2014
- KO 14:05
- Ground: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli
- Att: 6,111
RaboDirect PRO12 preview: Scarlets v Connacht
Scarlets are boosted by the return of three internationals as they prepare for Sunday's vital clash with Connacht.
Head Coach Simon Easterby welcomes back Ken Owens, Rhodri Jones and Jake Ball into the Scarlets' ranks as his team look to maintain an unbeaten home record against these opponents that dates back to October 2004.
Also returning to action for the Welsh side are Rhys Priestland, Liam Williams and Jonathan Davies, who will captain the side in the absence of Rob McCusker.
A delighted Easterby told the club's website "Despite coping reasonably well during the Six Nations campaign the quality the boys bring to the table now is important.
"This week is about putting in the performance and we've had a little more time together to prepare and for the players to get back into their patterns.
"The likes of Rhys and Jon have a lot of responsibility in terms of performance, they'll be able to lead us through the last five games; there are plenty of positives still to come!"
Connacht go into Sunday's clash on the back of four successive wins and are now just four points behind the hosts, in seventh place. Conversely, they have lost their last four encounters with Scarlets. "Their scrum and line-out drive has been really effective and our discipline has got to be spot on against them.
"They've started to find their feet under Pat Lam and they have a really effective set piece, driving line-out and scrum, they're well equipped pretty much right across the park," said Easterby.
Lam has again been able to name an unchanged line-up, meaning that hooker Jason Harris-Wright will make his 40th appearance for Connacht, while back-rower John Muldoon will captain the side as he looks to add to the four tries he has scored in his last two matches.
Speaking on the team's website, Head Coach Lam said "Being able to put out the same team for the third fixture in a row is testament to the performance of those players selected. The recent team performances have been driven by huge competition for places within the squad.
"Our training has certainly gone up another level in the last number of weeks and we have some experienced and quality players in key positions all pushing hard for a starting place. It makes selection tough in one way but it is also great to see the guys named striving to perform on behalf of the entire squad."
Scarlets: 15 Williams, 14 Phillips, 13 Davies ©, 12 Barkley, 11 Williams, 10 Priestland, 9 Davies; 1 John, 2 Owens, 3 Jones, 4 Ball, 5 Snyman, 6 Turnbull, 7 Barclay, 8 Timani. Replacements: 16 Phillips, 17 Evans, 18 Adriaanse, 19 Kelly, 20 Rawlins, 21 Williams, 22 Thomas, 23 Maule.
Connacht: 15 Henshaw, 14 O'Halloran, 13 Griffin, 12 McSharry, 11 Carr, 10 Parks, 9 Marmion; 1 Buckley, 2 Harris-Wright, 3 Ah You, 4 Muldowney, 5 Kearney, 6 Muldoon ©, 7 Masterson, 8 McKeon.
Replacements: 16 Heffernan, 17 Loughney, 18 White, 19 Swift, 20 Browne, 21 Murphy, 22 Nikora, 23 Leader.
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Saturday 27th December|
|14:40||Glasgow Warriors vs Edinburgh|
|17:15||Ospreys vs Scarlets|
|Sunday 28th December|
|14:00||Zebre vs Treviso|
|Thursday 1st January|
|14:05||Dragons vs Cardiff Blues|
|17:00||Connacht vs Munster|
|Friday 2nd January|
|19:35||Edinburgh vs Glasgow Warriors|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|14:00||Treviso vs Zebre|
|14:40||Leinster vs Ulster|
|17:05||Scarlets vs Ospreys|
|Friday 9th January|
|19:35||Connacht vs Edinburgh|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Scarlets|
|Saturday 10th January|
|14:40||Cardiff Blues vs Leinster|
|15:00||Zebre vs Munster|
|Sunday 11th January|
|14:00||Treviso vs Ulster|
|16:00||Ospreys vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Wednesday 14th January|
|TBC||Leinster vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Scarlets vs Connacht|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Ulster vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Zebre vs Glasgow|
|TBC||Munster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 21st February|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Cardiff Blues|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Connacht|
|TBC||Leinster vs Zebre|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Ulster|
|Friday 26th December|
|Ulster 13 - 10 Connacht|
|Munster 28 - 13 Leinster|
|Cardiff Blues 17 - 23 Dragons|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Dragons 25 - 11 Zebre|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Ospreys 31 - 20 Ulster|
|Glasgow Warriors 21 - 18 Munster|
|Friday 19th December|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 9 Scarlets|
|Edinburgh 48 - 0 Treviso|
|Leinster 21 - 11 Connacht|
|Sunday 30th November|
|Glasgow Warriors 19 - 15 Dragons|
|Saturday 29th November|
|Connacht 14 - 8 Scarlets|
|Leinster 18 - 12 Ospreys|
|Zebre 18 - 10 Edinburgh|
|Friday 28th November|
|Cardiff Blues 36 - 25 Treviso|
|Munster 21 - 20 Ulster|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff Blues|
|Treviso 24 - 24 Leinster|
|Friday 21st November|
|Ulster 25 - 16 Ospreys|
|Connacht 43 - 3 Zebre|
|Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow Warriors|
|Dragons 12 - 38 Munster|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com