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Munster v Scarlets - RaboDirect PRO12 match preview
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Munster have named six changes to their starting line-up for their RaboDirect PRO12 fixture against Scarlets at Musgrave Park on Sunday.
Ian Keatley moves back to his favoured fly-half spot, occupied last time out by Ronan O'Gara, in a positional change and there are two further injury-enforced alterations.
Niall Ronan returns after almost two months out replacing Sean Dougall and Paddy Butler is in for Tommy O'Donnell, who limped off with an ankle injury in the game against Leinster last week.
Ian Nagle partners Billy Holland this time around with Wian du Preez being named ahead of Marcus Horan. James Downey also returns as centre partner for Casey Laulala.
Second-placed Scarlets have named a team composed of a blend of experience, flair and emerging talent as they look to continue their good form, unbeaten in their last four encounters with Irish provinces in the competition.
Head coach Simon Easterby has selected Morgan Stoddart at full-back making a return to regional action, as Liam Williams is called up by Wales to replace his injured club-mate George North.
The centre partnership is set to stay the same as last weekend's derby against Cardiff Blues. Gareth Maule will join up with Gareth Owen to form an impressive back line with Morgan Stoddart at full-back, Andy Fenby on the wing and Nick Reynolds in for injured Kristian Phillips.
Gareth Davies will make a return at scrum-half as Aled Thomas starts at fly-half.
Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Doug Howlett (c), 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Luke O'Dea, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 Paddy Butler, 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Dave O'Callaghan, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Ian Nagle, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 Wian Du Preez
Replacements 16 Damian Varley 17 Marcus Horan, 18 BJ Botha, 19 Dave Foley, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Denis Hurley
Scarlets: 15 Morgan Stoddart 14 Nick Reynolds, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Gareth Owen, 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Craig Price, 7 Johnathan Edwards (c), 6 George Earle, 5 Richard Kelly, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Emyr Phillips, 1 Phil John
Replacements 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Shaun Hopkins, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Johan Snyman, 20 Dan Thomas, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Dan Newton, 23 Adam Warren
What they said...
Scarlets Head coach Simon Easterby
"These games can cement positions later on and picking up points on the road will be valuable - the top six is very tight again already with Ulster, ourselves, Glasgow, Munster, the Ospreys and Leinster all in the race. We know these teams will all be very competitive and challenging opponents in these next two rounds regardless of the number of internationals that are missing.
"Yes we're hit fairly hard from the number of international call-ups with up to 15 players away from our squad at the moment but this is when our wide squad players really step-up and the challenge of beating Munster on their home turf is one the boys are looking forward to. We know they're a good team without their front line players - they have a strong team mentality and know how to win games even when they're not on the top of their game."
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