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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 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||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|
|19:35||Ulster vs Leinster|
|Saturday 25th April|
|TBC||Munster vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Scarlets|
|TBC||Connacht vs Glasgow|
|Saturday 9th May|
|TBC||Ulster vs Munster|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Connacht 53 - 5 Treviso|
|Zebre 23 - 17 Dragons|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 15 Edinburgh|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Munster 22 - 10 Glasgow Warriors|
|Friday 27th February|
|Ospreys 9 - 9 Leinster|
|Ulster 25 - 20 Scarlets|
|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|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com