Preview: Leinster v Scarlets

Date published: November 5 2015

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Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has named a new-look starting XV from the one that faced Treviso last Sunday for their clash with Scarlets.

There is a first start for Leinster for Lansdowne's Cian Kelleher on the left wing and for UCD's James Tracy at hooker.

There is also the return of a number of internationals who were away during the Rugby World Cup.

Rob Kearney starts in Leinster colours for the first time this season have played four games during the World Cup, scoring three tries in the process.

He is joined in the back three by fellow returnee Zane Kirchner who was part of the South Africa squad that secured a third placed finish in England. Kelleher, on the left wing, has made three appearances this season from the bench having made his debut in last season's game away to Edinburgh.

In the centre Noel Reid and Garry Ringrose form a new look partnership. Reid has played in all of Leinster's games to date this season notching up 430 minutes in the Guinness PRO12. This is the first time that Ringrose will be outside him from the start. Ringrose has scored one try in four starts to date and was awarded the man of the match award after the Glasgow Warriors game.

In the half-backs Isaac Boss starts with Ian Madigan again making his seasonal bow from 10.

A completely new pack sees UCD's Tracy make a first start for the province at hooker. The 24-year-old has made all of his six appearances to date from the bench with one try in three appearances to his name already this season. Cian Healy is to Tracy's left, with Mike Ross making his first appearance of the season to his right at tighthead.

Tom Denton and Devin Toner lock down in the second-row, while in the back-row it's a new look trio of Dominic Ryan, Sean O'Brien and Jamie Heaslip. Heaslip will captain the side from the base of the scrum as he wins his 203rd cap for Leinster.

Meanwhile, six victories in the opening six rounds sees Scarlets top the PRO12 table as they head to Dublin.

John Barlcay captains the Scarlets in the huge clash as Ken Owens makes way in the starting line-up for Emyr Phillips.

Gareth Owen, Michael Tagicakibau and Aaron Shingler make a return from injury with Gareth Davies back for his first start over the season after a successful Rugby World Cup campaign.

Newcomers Maselino Paulino and Michael Collins are named on the replacements bench hoping to make an impact on their debuts.

"We've won the first six and we're happy with where we're sitting in the Pro12 table. It's very early days but success breeds success and the confidence is growing with each victory," said Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac.

"We're building a good camaraderie within the group. Don't underestimate a team that is working well together and enjoying each others company and how that transforms into a good team performance.

"We'll be going out there trying to give it our best shot."

Form: Leinster’s 27-3 victory in Treviso on Sunday lifted them into the play-off zone for the first time since February. The Irishmen have lost only one home game in any tournament in the last 13 months: 14-16 to the Dragons at the RDS Arena in the PRO12 on 15 February. Scarlets have won their last ten PRO12 matches – a Welsh record – since Edinburgh beat them at Parc y Scarlets in March. Scarlets have not beaten an Irish province on their own soil since defeating Connacht 24-21 in Galway in November 2013. The last four fixtures between the two teams have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Scarlets only victory in Dublin since the Welsh region were formed in 2003 came at the RDS Arena in October 2007. 

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Zane Kirchner, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Cian Kelleher, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c), 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Dominic Ryan, 5 Tom Denton, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 James Tracy, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Dan Leavy, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Johnny Sexton, 23 Ben Te'o.

Scarlets: 15 Aled Thomas, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Gareth Owen, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Michael Tagicakibau, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 John Barclay (c), 7 James Davies, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Lewis Rawlins, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Peter Edwards, 2 Emyr Phillips, 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Dylan Evans, 18 Will Taylor, 19 Tom Price, 20 Maselino Paulino, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Michael Collins, 23 Harry Robinson.

Date: Friday, November 6
Venue: RDS Arena
Kick-off: 19:35 GMT
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant referees: Leo Colgan (Ireland), Olly Hodges (Ireland)
TMO: Seamus Flannery (Ireland)

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