Preview: Scarlets v Munster

Date published: February 20 2015

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Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac has named an unchanged side to take on Munster at Parc y Scarlets this Saturday in another must-win Guinness Pro12 clash.
 
A bonus point win over Connacht last Sunday saw the Scarlets move into seventh place in the Pro12 table and level on points with the Irish province with another huge clash at the Parc this weekend.
  
21-year-old Jordan Williams will make his 50th appearance for the Scarlets on Saturday with the region’s top points scorer Rhys Priestland joining Gareth Davies and Rob Evans on the replacements bench having been released by Wales camp for this weekend’s clash.
 
Head Coach Wayne Pivac said: “Munster have a good record. They are near top of the table. They’ll bring a different threat from Connacht and across the board are slightly stronger.
 
“It’s an important game for us. We need to back up the performance on the weekend and make sure it’s not a one-off.
 
“It’s been said before but we really are focusing week by week and looking at little areas we can improve on. We’re tweaking things off the field as well as on. As the season wears on it’s important we get maximum points where we can at home.
 
“I think that table will sort itself out over the next three or four weeks. A lot can happen in the rounds we have left and hopefully a few other results will go in our favour!”

Meanwhile, in making eight changes to the side that defeated Cardiff Blues last weekend Munster boss Anthony Foley calls on the services of returning internationals Tommy O'Donnell, Felix Jones and Ian Keatley, who was a late withdrawal last week due to illness.

Andrew Conway has also overcome the flu in resuming his place on the wing and the squad has been further boosted by the return of CJ Stander from injury as he takes his place in the starting XV.
 
There is a new front row named for the Round 15 fixture with Dave Kilcoyne, Kevin O'Byrne and Stephen Archer all starting.

Keatley resumes his partnership with Duncan Williams in the half-backs, while captain Denis Hurley and Keith Earls remain in situ with Andrew Conway and Felix Jones joining Luke O'Dea in the back three.

Form: Scarlets last four fixtures in the Guinness PRO12 have all been won by the home side on the day whilst the Welshmen have not been defeated at Parc y Scarlets in the tournament since Ospreys were the visitors on Boxing Day 2013. The most recent Irish province to win at Scarlets’ home was Leinster in the PRO12 in September 2013. Munster’s only loss in their last four fixtures was 10-23 at Saracens in the European Champions Cup on 17 January. The Munstermen have won just one of their last five away games in all tournaments: 31-7 over Zebre in Parma on 10 January. Munster have won four of their five encounters with Welsh regions this season. The last four clashes between the two sides have all been won by the home team on the day, whilst Munster’s most recent victory at Parc y Scarlets was 17-14 in the European Cup in December 2011.

The teams:

Scarlets: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Regan King, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Michael Tagicakibau, 10 Steven Shingler, 9 Aled Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 Lewis Rawlins, 3 Peter Edwards, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 George Earle, 20 Rob McCusker, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Kristian Phillips

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Denis Hurley (c), 11 Luke O'Dea, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Dave O'Callaghan, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Donnacha O'Callaghan, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Kevin O'Byrne, 1 Dave Kilcoyne

Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guinazu, 17 John Ryan, 18 BJ Botha, 19 Jack O'Donoghue, 20 Paddy Butler, 21 Neil Cronin, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Ivan Dineen.

Date: Saturday, February 21
Venue: Parc y Scarlets
Kick-off: 14:40 GMT
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Ben Whitehouse (Wales), Greg Morgan (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)

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