Preview: Leinster v Scarlets

Date published: September 12 2014

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Jamie Heaslip is back to captain Leinster for the first home game of the year in what is also his first involvement of the PRO12 season.

Jamie Heaslip is back to captain Leinster for the first home game of the year in what is also his first involvement of the PRO12 season.

Also making their seasonal bow are fellow internationals Rob Kearney who starts at full-back and Devin Toner, who partners Mike McCarthy in the second row.

With Kearney returning to full-back Zane Kirchner moves to the right wing with Darragh Fanning again selected on the left wing. The St. Mary's club man has now started all four of Leinster's games this season.

Brendan Macken starts at outside centre with Ian Madigan selected at inside. Madigan came on at inside centre for Noel Reid after only 40 seconds in last week's game against Glasgow. Matt O'Connor confirmed yesterday that Reid's ankle injury is not as bad as first expected and expects him to be back within a number of weeks rather than months.

Isaac Boss, who made his 100th appearance for Leinster last weekend, starts again at nine with Jimmy Gopperth selected as his half-back partner.

After his try scoring performance off the bench last Jack McGrath starts at loosehead with Mike Ross on the other side of the front row. Sean Cronin starts at hooker.

Toner and McCarthy are in the second row, while in the back row, Dominic Ryan, Shane Jennings and Jamie Heaslip complete the pack.

Meanwhile, Meanwhile, the Welsh region will be looking to build on the positives, which included four tries, against Ulster at Parc y Scarlets.

Scarlets full-back Liam Williams is named in the starting XV having been cleared of any playing suspension following his red card (after two yellows) in the opening clash against Ulster last weekend.

Scott Williams is joined in the centre by Gareth Owen, who replaces the injured Regan King, whilst Jordan Williams comes in on the wing to replace the injured Michael Tagicakibau.

The only change to the pack sees Aaron Shingler replace Rob McCusker who moves to the replacements bench.

“Saturday's game against Leinster should be a good opportunity for us to test ourselves against a very good team away from home,” said Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac.

“For us, it's about concentrating on what we're doing and getting that right, It's still very early. There are lots of improvements to come in this team and we have plenty to build on. Really for us, this time of the year there's a lot of work to do on your own game especially coming in as a new coach.

“All rugby players love playing in front of a big crowd. Bigger the crowd, bigger the occasion and bigger the performance and hopefully we'll be no different. No matter where you play, it's great to play in front of a bumper crowd.”

Scarlets' only loss in their last six Pro12 encounters was to Cardiff Blues on Judgement Day in April whilst Leinster faced a narrow defeat against Glasgow in the opening round of the 2014-15 campaign last weekend.

Form: The Irish province are currently unbeaten in their last 19 games at the RDS, have only once lost their opening two games of a new season and that was all the way back in 2003. The Welsh region have only beaten Leinster once in their last 13 meetings and not won at the RDS since 2007.

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Zane Kirchner, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Ian Madigan, 11 Darragh Fanning, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Dominic Ryan, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Ben Marshall, 20 Kevin McLaughlin, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Steve Crosbie, 23 Mick McGrath

Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Gareth Owen, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Jordan Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Rory Pitman, 7 John Barclay, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Rhodri Jones, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Phil John
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Peter Edwards, 19 Richard Kelly, 20 Rob McCusker, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Adam Warren

Date: Saturday, September 13
Kick-off: 14:40 local (13:40 GMT)
Venue: RDS, Dublin
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Mark Patton (Ireland), Jonathan Peak (Ireland)
TMO: Alan Rogan (Ireland)

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