The Irish province will be looking for revenge after falling to a 23-21 loss to the Scarlets at the start of the season. With both teams missing key players due to 6 Nations duties other players have been given the chance to shine.
Rob Kearney captains Leinster from full-back, looking to prove his fitness to Joe Schmidt before Ireland’s opening game against England next Saturday.
He is joined in the back three by Barry Daly and James Lowe who returns from his three-match suspension he received after a red card against Munster.
Rory O’Loughlin and Conor O’Brien start in the centre with the latter looking to continue his recent rise for the blues. Ciaran Frawley will be at No 10, joined by Hugh O’Sullivan in the half-backs, who makes his first start for Leinster.
Cullen has named a strong pack with Jack McGrath, James Tracy, and Michael Bent in the front-row. They are joined by Ross Molony and Mick Kearney in the second-row. While Max Deegan, Scott Penny, and Caelan Doris slot into the back-row.
Leinster have strength on the bench where the likes of Bryan Byrne, Ed Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park and Noel Reid available to be called on. With Jack Dunne ready to come on to make his debut.
On the Scarlets side, Jake Ball has the same opportunity as Kearney to prove his fitness before the opening matches of the 6 Nations.
They also name Johnny McNicholl at full-back, a player Leinster know all too well after his hat-trick in last seasons final.
With 11 players getting an international call, the rest of the Scarlets team is relatively new with only five remaining from last weekend’s loss to Racing 92.
Along with McNicholl, the survivors are Dan Jones, David Bulbring, Dan Davis and Josh Macleod.
Team Announcement | Cyhoeddiad Tîm— Scarlets Rugby (@scarlets_rugby) January 24, 2019
Here's the team heading to Dublin to face @leinsterrugby tomorrow evening⬇️
Dyma'r tîm sy'n teithio i Ddulyn i wynebu Leinster nos yfory ⬇️#inthepack #ynypac pic.twitter.com/Z9r3UBoerE
Both sides are aware of the opportunity the international break gives to players with Scarlets coach Wayne Pivoc noting that the game will be good for both sets of players.
“When their internationals are away, they get excited like our guys do, so we’re expecting a very stern test,” he said.
While returning Leinster winger Lowe pointed towards the threat the Scarlets pose going forward.
“It’s an exciting challenge,” he said when asked how he felt about facing them, “Scarlets are a very very good attacking team,” he added.
Leinster are currently top of conference B, 19 points ahead of Edinburgh and 20 above their opponents on Friday. Both teams will be looking to impress while the regular starters are away and will be hoping to kick-off the international break with a win.
Another Fijian Heads to Scotland
Glasgow Warriors have confirmed the signing of a Fijian star only two days after Edinburgh captured the signing of Mesulame Kunavula
Glasgow Warriors have announced the signing of Fijian hooker Mesu Dolokota on a two-year deal from Fijian Drua.
The 24-year-old was named in Fiji’s World Cup training squad last month and will join up with the Warriors following the conclusion of the tournament in Japan.
“I’m very happy to be joining Glasgow Warriors and I’m looking forward to playing in two of the best rugby competitions in the world. The opportunity to learn from such an experienced coaching team and play in such a successful team is very exciting for me. The club has a strong Fijian history and I hope I can be a big part of it going forward,” he said.
The hooker has nine international caps for Fiji as well as having experience in Super Rugby with the Brumbies in 2015 and Glasgow assistant coach John Dalziel is delighted to add more experience to the squad.
“Mesu is an exciting talent who will bring even more international experience to our front row. He isn’t your traditional front-row forward, he likes to bring a bit of Fijian flair to his game, but he can also do the basics very well and we’re excited to work with him when he shows up following international duty,” he said.
Dolokoto follows the footsteps of fellow Fijian Mesulame Kunavula, who joined Edinburgh only a couple of days ago and the PRO 14 can look forward to some Fijian flare next season.
Leinster Unveil New European and Alternative Jerseys
Leinster have revealed their European and alternative jerseys for the 2019/20 season
Leinster have unveiled their new Adidas European and alternative jerseys for the 2019/20 season.
Leinster have revealed that the jersey has been inspired by meteorites that were once used to create iron spears and will be worn by the club for the next two seasons.
“The pattern of the Leinster Rugby European jersey takes inspiration from meteorites that fell from the sky and were used by the Laighin people to create their iron spear. These meteorite formations form the graphic design of the jersey paying homage to the tale of the metal of the Gods, providing bold and vibrant energy for Leinster Rugby’s European campaign,” they said on their official website.
The alternative jersey is a shade of purple with black strips horizontally across the shirt.
They have said that this jersey is inspired by the purple skyline that is seen across the east coach of Ireland.
“The Alternate jersey embodies the electric energy of Ireland’s east coast at night. The iconic purple skyline forms the colour inspiration for this season’s kit. Incorporating a twist on the traditional hoop design, the kit harnesses the vibrant energy of the province, whilst maintaining a classic look and feel,” they added.
As well as the two new jerseys Leinster will continue to wear their Adidas home jersey from the 2018/19 season for the season ahead.
Cardiff Blues Cut Ties with Key Coach
Cardiff Blues are on the look out for a new attack coach according to reports
Cardiff Blues have let go of attack coach Jason Strange just a year after signing him up according to WalesOnline.
Head coach John Mulvihill appointed the U20’s Grand Slam winning coach in what was his first move last year as he took over, however, he is said to be unimpressed by the team’s attacking showings last season and is in the market for a new coach.
The Cardiff Blues finished fifth in their PRO 14 conference, scoring 60 tries and missed out on qualification to the Champions Cup as a result, failing to live up to expectations having claimed Challenge Cup glory the previous season.
Former Welsh scrum-half Richie Rees, who has spent time working with the club’s academy is looking like the most likely replacement at this stage.
However, it is possible that Mulvihill will seek to bring in a more experience figure ahead of the new season.
Strange is considered to be a talented coaching prospect having worked with the Wales U20’s and bringing through 10 first team players from Cardiff’s academy into the first team and should have no problem finding a new project to work on.
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