Planet Rugby

Preview: Munster v Scarlets

23rd November 2012 10:56

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Doug Howlett

Captain: Doug Howlett

There are six changes for Munster when they resume their challenge for RaboDirect PRO12 honours against Scarlets at Musgrave Park on Sunday.

One of those changes is positional, Ian Keatley moving back to his favoured ten spot occupied last time out by Ronan O'Gara, and two are injury enforced with Niall Ronan back after almost two months replacing Sean Dougall and Paddy Butler in for Tommy O'Donnell, who limped out of the game against Leinster last week with an ankle injury.

Elsewhere, Wian du Preez starts ahead of Marcus Horan, Ian Nagle partners Billy Holland this time around and James Downey is back as centre partner for Casey Laulala.

Meanwhile, Scarlets Head Coach Simon Easterby fields an exciting mix of experience, flair and ambitious up-and-coming talent in his starting XV with a return to regional action for Morgan Stoddart at full-back as Liam Williams is called up to Wales to replace his injured Scarlets team-mate George North.

The centre partnership remains the same as last weekend's derby against Cardiff Blues with Gareth Maule linking up with former Ospreys centre Gareth Owen to create an impressive back line with Morgan Stoddart at full-back, Andy Fenby on the wing with Nick Reynolds in for the injured Kristian Phillips and Andy Fenby on the other wing. Aled Thomas who showed strong form with the boot last weekend starts at fly-half with Gareth Davies back at scrum-half.

Kirby Myhill and Samson Lee are released back from Wales' training squad this weekend, adding some youthful power and energy to the Scarlets bench, while South African signing George Earle moves from the second row to cover back row following the number of international call-up for Scarlets back-row players in addition to injuries.

Form: Munster have won their last three games in all competitions. The Munstermen's only home defeat in the PRO12 since October 2011 was 18-9 to Leinster at Thomond Park on 31 March. Munster have won their last 15 games at Musgrave Park since Glasgow won there 21-18 on 10 May 2008. Scarlets have won their last three matches in the RaboDirect PRO12 and are unbeaten in their last four encounters with Irish provinces in the competition. Munster are unbeaten in their last 15 clashes with Scarlets in all competitions since the European Cup quarter-final in March 2007. Scarlets have lost on all their seven previous visits to Musgrave Park.

The teams:

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Doug Howlett (c), 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Luke O'Dea, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 Paddy Butler, 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Dave O'Callaghan, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Ian Nagle, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 Wian Du Preez.
Replacements 16 Damian Varley 17 Marcus Horan, 18 BJ Botha, 19 Dave Foley, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Denis Hurley.

Scarlets: 15 Morgan Stoddart 14 Nick Reynolds, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Gareth Owen, 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Craig Price, 7 Johnathan Edwards (c), 6 George Earle, 5 Richard Kelly, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Emyr Phillips, 1 Phil John.
Replacements 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Shaun Hopkins, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Johan Snyman, 20 Dan Thomas, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Dan Newton, 23 Adam Warren.

Date: Sunday, 25 November
Venue: Musgrave Park
Kick-off: 17.15 GMT
Referee: Laurent Cardona

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Friday , November 28
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
Friday , December 19
Edinburgh vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , December 20
Glasgow vs Munster14:40
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Sunday , November 23
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Friday , November 21
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues 24 - 28 Munster
Scarlets 28 - 13 Zebre
Ulster 23 - 6 Newport Gwent D'gons
Friday , October 31
Leinster 33 - 8 Edinburgh
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1Ospreys830
2Ulster830
3Munster828
4Glasgow Warriors827
5Leinster824