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RaboDirect PRO12: Scarlets make changes for Ulster trip
- Crushing win for Ulster
- Edinburgh edge past Ospreys
- Blues slump in Zebre
- Convincing win for Connacht
- Munster beaten at Scarlets
- Leinster sneak past Glasgow
- Bonus-point victory for Ulster
Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby has made three changes to Friday's starting XV that will face Ulster in their rearranged RaboDirect PRO12 clash at Ravenhill.
Gareth Maule returns to centre and Kirby Myhill and Jacobie Adriaanse pack down alongside veteran loosehead Phil John in their front-row.
It will also be an historic evening for Scarlets' South African second-row duo George Earle and Johan Snyman as they both make their 50th regional appearance in what is a must win PRO12 game.
With three wins from three in the RaboDirect PRO12 in recent weeks Easterby went on to say that the squad has been buoyed by the recent victories and has given themselves the best chance in the final stages of the season.
"The players are really confident with three wins on the trot," he said.
"We have everything to play for. We've put ourselves in a bit of a difficult position in terms of the top four but we feel pretty confident at the moment with the run-in that we've got that we can go to places like Ulster and Glasgow and get the wins."
With only ten points separating the Scarlets and the Ospreys, who are currently in fourth position, the Scarlets have it all to play having already secured 13 points from 15 in the last three rounds.
"An early season inconsistency prevented us from getting closer to the top four," Easterby added.
"We collected five losing bonus points in games that we really should have won. We've started to win those games now and we've had three wins on the bounce; we still have 7 games and 35 points up for grabs."
Meanwhile, Ulster back-row Stephen Ferris has been named on the bench for the game at Ravenhill.
The Ireland international hasn't played since suffering an ankle injury in November 2012 and after 16 months of rehabilitation will make a phased return to play over the coming weeks.
Roger Wilson will make his 150th appearance for the Province in the game and starts at blindside flanker.
The match will also see a first start for centre Stuart McCloskey who came on as a substitute in the win over the Dragons a fortnight ago.
Jared Payne starts the game at full-back, with Tommy Bowe, who scored two tries on his return against Dragons, named on the right wing and Ireland U20s player, Rory Scholes, continuing on the left wing.
Ruan Pienaar is selected at scrum-half, with Paddy Jackson, who has been released from international duty, named at fly-half.
In the pack, John Afoa returns to the starting XV where he joins Callum Black and Rob Herring in the front-row.
Johann Muller starts in the second row and is partnered by Robbie Diack who starts at lock while further back, Sean Doyle starts at openside, with Wilson at blindside and Nick Williams named at number eight.
Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Rory Scholes, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Sean Doyle, 6 Roger Wilson, 5 Robbie Diack, 4 Johann Muller (capt), 3 John Afoa, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Callum Black.
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Tom Court, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Stephen Ferris, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Craig Gilroy, 23 Ricky Andrew.
Scarlets: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Kristian Phillips, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Frazier Climo, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Rob McCusker (capt), 7 John Barclay, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 George Earle, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Kirby Myhill, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Darran Harris, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Shaun Hopkins, 19 Richard Kelly, 20 Sione Timani, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Josh Lewis, 23 Adam Warren.
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Friday 26th December|
|14:05||Cardiff Blues vs Dragons|
|17:00||Munster vs Leinster|
|18:45||Ulster vs Connacht|
|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||Newport Gwent D'gons 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|
|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