Ireland’s loss is Leinster’s gain as Joe Schmidt welcomes a number of Ireland internationals back into the domestic fold as Leinster welcome the Scarlets to the RDS on Friday evening, kick off 7.35pm.
Sean Cronin, David Kearney, Fergus McFadden and Eoin Reddan are all welcomed back into the starting 15 as Leinster look to extend their lead at the top of the Rabo Pro12 table.
Along with the four returning internationals, Dominic Ryan makes a bleated comeback to the Leinster side, having missed the last number of months out through injury.
Looking ahead to the game Schmidt expects another huge test against a side that will also be welcoming a number of Welsh internationals back into their team.
“This time of the year is very disjointed; both in terms of player availability and scheduling. We are pleased to welcome back a few of our internationals this week though their training time with us has been limited. Having said that, the quality they bring will hopefully help us to keep some of the momentum from last week’s Treviso second half.
“The Scarlets have proven that they can win on the road which makes them dangerous opponents, even though they will also be without some of their international players.
“They play a direct and attacking style of rugby with a lot of speed and movement in their game. Nigel Davies has the team playing in a really positive manner after a tough start to the season and they now sit just outside the semi-final spots – further motivation for them to come to the RDS looking to add a further four points to get closer to play-off contention.”
Scarlets coach Nigel Davies, like his counterpart Schmidt, is looking forward to a tough test at the RDS. “We’re going to the RDS with every intent to win the game and having the opportunity to welcome back a few fresh faces will give us a boost.
“We know we have a lot of work to do from here on in. We’ve dropped off the standard a little bit and we’ve been disappointed in the last two performances against Sale and Glasgow.
“We’ve been very hard on ourselves this week but in saying that we are competitive in every aspect in the majority of our games and we just need to ensure that we get back to where we know we can be now on Friday evening.”
15: Isa Nacewa
14: David Kearney
13: Eoin O’Malley
12: Fergus McFadden
11: Fionn Carr
10: Ian Madigan
9: Eoin Reddan
1: Jack McGrath
2: Sean Cronin
3: Jamie Hagan
4: Damian Browne
5: Devin Toner
6: Kevin McLaughlin CAPTAIN
7: Shane Jennings
8: Rhys Ruddock
16: Richardt Strauss
17: Heinke van der Merwe
18: Nathan White
19: Leo Auva’a
20: Dominic Ryan
21: Isaac Boss
22: Noel Reid
23: Brendan Macken
Scarlets: 15 Dan Newton, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Gareth Maule ©, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Stephen Jones, 1 Rhodri Jones, 2 Emyr Phillips, 3 Deacon Manu, 4 Sione Timani, 5 Dominic Day, 6 Josh Turnbull, 7 Johnathan Edwards, 8 Kieran Murphy
Replacements: 16 Craig Hawkins, 17 Phil John, 18 Peter Edwards, 19 Damian Welch, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Liam Davies, 22 Adam Warren, 23 Viliame Iongi.