Scarlets name team ahead of Leinster match :: 11 Jan 13:37
15 Liam Williams 14 Andy Fenby, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Kristian Phillips, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 1 Phil John, 2 Ken Owens, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 4 George Earle, 5 Richard Kelly, 6 Rob McCusker (capt) 7 Josh Turnbull, 8 Kieran Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Johan Synman, 20 Sione Timani, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Jonathan Davies, 23 Adam Warren.
The West Wales side knows it will be a big test of character as they travel to the RDS on Saturday night against Leinster (kick-off 6pm). But spirit of the Scarlets in Europe and the need to get momentum back into their season for key games ahead will be a driving force throughout the team.
Scarlets Head Coach Simon Easterby said his side has put in a very positive week’s training with the frustrations of last week’s defeat against league leaders Ulster firmly behind them.
Regardless of results to date this season in Europe, Easterby said the Scarlets had no interest in making up the numbers and will only be focused on winning two big games in the Heineken Cup against two of the best sides in Europe.
Easterby said: “We’re entering into two Heineken games one against the reigning champions, then next week against one of the top two or three sides in the competition so in three games we’ve played against some of the very best in Europe.
“These games show us where we are as a group; equally they’re important in terms of making a mark to get us back on track for our season ahead. As coaches and players we respect this tournament, our supporters and what our region has achieved so we’ll only ever being going out in the next couple of weeks to try and win two games – that will never change.”
Easterby added that a growing injury list and with a few players carrying bumps there were some positional changes to his side for their game against Leinster.
“We’ve been struggling with injuries after an intense last six weeks and we’ve picked 10 backs for the match day squad from 11 that are currently available in our list of 18 backs for Europe. We also have only three out and out back rowers to choose from this weekend.
“That said, the boys have been working very hard this week, there’s lack of commitment or effort or will to go out this weekend to Ireland and cause a shock.”
Simon Easterby added: “The score line last week against Ulster did not reflect the contest, we had a very positive start and I’d say at half-time we were at parity with them. They had a key period early in the second half where they took the game away from us with some individuals making a big impact.
“We then had a number of players coming off which disrupted our momentum with players playing out of position in the back line. The key is that whether we win or lose we gain information and learn from it and that’s our philosophy.
“Leinster will have some key players coming back from injury and have plenty of quality to draw in their team which will add to their performance. While they will be disappointed with the Clermont loss we know there’s a lot riding on this game for them – but we feel exactly the same.
“Parity up front will be key and we have to be better at taking our opportunities, we create plenty but our accuracy and execution has been lacking in the last six games. We need to put that right this weekend built on the knowledge we have comfortably matched the top sides this season for periods of the game.”