RaboDirect PRO12: Ulster v Scarlets preview

Last updated: 10th May 2013  

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Rhys Priestland: Returns to starting line-up for Scarlets

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Paddy Jackson: Returns to Ulster side to face Scarlets

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RaboDirect PRO12 table toppers Ulster host Llanelli Scarlets in their play-off at Ravenhill on Friday with a final place up for grabs.

Ulster head coach Mark Anscombe has made four changes and one positional switch to the team that defeated Cardiff Blues 37-13 last weekend.

Ireland internationals Paddy Jackson, Tom Court, Declan Fitzpatrick and Dan Tuohy all return to the side, while Ruan Pienaar switches from out-half to scrum-half.

Paul Marshall, Callum Black and Iain Henderson, who all started last week, are named as substitutes for the play-off, while tighthead prop John Afoa is unavailable after failing to recover from a hamstring injury sustained against the Blues.

Scarlets, who are making their first appearance in the play-offs after finishing the regular season in fourth, won five games in a row in the competition before a 41-17 defeat to Treviso last Friday.

Head coach Simon Easterby opts for three changes to his match day squad, with Wales international outside half Rhys Priestland returning to the starting line-up after two appearances from the bench on his return from injury.

Hooker Emyr Phillips replaces Matthew Rees on the bench (groin injury) and Gareth Owen comes onto the bench for Gareth Maule (thumb injury). Back row Rob McCusker, who was withdrawn late against Treviso with a rib injury, returns to captain his side.

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Tommy Bowe, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Johann Muller (C), 3 Declan Fitzpatrick, 2 Rory Best, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Michael Allen, 23 Peter Nelson.

Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Rob McCusker (c), 7 Josh Turnbull, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Johan Synman, 4 George Earle, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Phil John. Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Jacobie Adriannse, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Sione Timani, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Gareth Owen.

What they said...

Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby

"All that happened last week against Treviso has been firmly put to bed now. We are one of four teams that have 80 minutes of rugby in front of them to prove their ability and battle for a place in the final. This is where we wanted to be this season, we've achieved a top four finish, now we have to bring everything we have to this game to back up all the hard work we've put in throughout the season."

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