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Preview: Ulster v Scarlets

13th February 2014 12:43

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PADDY JACKSON ULSTER V LEICESTER TIGERS HEINEKEN CUP

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Ireland fly-half Paddy Jackson starts in a strong Ulster lineup to take on the Scarlets in the PRO12 at Ravenhill on Friday.

Jackson's inclusion is one of four personnel and three positional changes to the side that defeated Ospreys at Ravenhill last weekend.

Jared Payne moves from outside centre to full-back with Darren Cave reverting to his more familiar role at 13. Craig Gilroy continues on the right wing with Michael Allen keeping his place on the left.

Luke Marshall starts at inside centre alongside Cave, with Jackson at fly-half and Ruan Pienaar, who played his 75th game for Ulster against Ospreys, named at scrum-half.

There are no changes to the front row, where Tom Court, Rob Herring and John Afoa all start.

Johann Muller captains the side from the second-row with Iain Henderson selected alongside him.

Roger Wilson moves across the back-row to blindside, with Sean Doyle continuing at openside and Nick Williams coming in at number eight.

Robbie Diack and Ricky Andrew, who both started last week, are named among the replacements.

Meanwhile, Scarlets boss Simon Easterby has made only two changes to the starting XV that took on Treviso last week; tighthead prop Samson Lee comes into the starting line-up for Jacobie Adriaanse, having been released back to the region from Wales camp, and second-row Johan Snyman comes in for Richard Kelly who moved to the replacements bench.

Captain Rob McCusker will be looking to fire up his team to secure a performance and a result against a strong Ulster side.

"There's a way of trying to beat Ulster and there's a way of trying to stop them as well," said Easterby.

"We need to be as good as we've been when at our best this season to secure a victory."

Form: Ulster's only defeat in their last ten matches in all tournaments was to Leinster at the RDS in the PRO12 on 28 December. The Ulstermen have lost just once at Ravenhill in the past 12 months: 12-13 to Glasgow in the PRO12 in September.

Scarlets 41-33 victory in Treviso on Saturday ended a four game losing run in the PRO12 whilst the Welshmen's only victory against an Irish province on their home soil in their last seven visits came against Connacht in Galway in November.

The Scarlets won 17-9 when Ulster visited Parc y Scarlets in round 7 this season to end a four game winning sequence by the Ulstermen against the Scarlets. Scarlets only previous victory at Ravenhill in the PRO12 was on 5th September 2008.

The teams:

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Michael Allen, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Sean Doyle, 6 Roger Wilson, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Johann Muller, 3 John Afoa, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Tom Court
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17Callum Black, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Robbie Diack, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Rory Scholes, 23 Ricky Andrew.

Scarlets: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Kristian Phillips, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Adam Warren, 11Frazer CLimo, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Rob McCusker (c), 7 John Barclay, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 George Earle, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Kirby Myhill, 1 Phil John
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Richard Kelly, 20 Sione Timani, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Olly Barkley, 23 Gareth Owen.

Date: Friday 14th January
Venue: Ravenhill
Kick-off: 1945 (local & GMT)
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wal)
Assistant referees: Gary Conway, Gary Glennon (both Ire)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ire)

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