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PREVIEW: Munster Make Seven Changes for Scarlets

Strong Scarlets team too.

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Munster and Scarlets have both made changes for their clash at Parc y Scarlets at 17 00 tomorrow.

Munster will be looking to make it eight wins on the bounce and have welcomed back a couple of key men to the starting line-up while the Welsh side have five internationals returning.

Jeremy Loughman, Rhys Marshell and John Ryan, who is back from Ireland duty, start in the front-row for the visitors.

Jean Kleyn comes back into the pack having missed last week’s game through illness and will partner captain Billy Holland in the second-row.

Making up the pack are Fineen Wycherley, Conor Oliver and Arno Botha, at six, seven and eight respectively.

The out-half pairing has been switched up once more by the Irish province with Alby Mathewson and Bill Johnston coming in at No 9 and 10.

Rory Scannell will become the youngest player to reach 100 caps for Munster, having turned 25 in December, when he lines out beside Dan Goggin in the centre.

The back-three is made up of Darren Sweetnam, Ronan O’Mahony on the wings and full-back Mike Haley, who is in fine form at the moment.

The men in red have some experienced players to call on from the bench if needed such as Stephen Archer, Tyler Bleyendaal and Jaco Taute.

Speaking ahead of the game head coach Johann Van Graan has talked about the happiness in the club with their current form but sees room for improvement.

“We’re happy, we’ve won our last seven games in a row, and we’ve won five out of our last seven away. So, we’re pretty happy with our current form, but we’ve a lot to improve on from last weekend,” he said.

On the other side, the Scarlets have been able to recall Leigh Halfpeeny, Wyn Jones, Ryan Elias, Rhys Patchell and Steff Evans from Wales duty.

Jones and Elias are joined by Werner Kruger in the front three with Josh Helps and Lewis Rawlins slotting in behind.

While Josh Macleod, Dan Davis and Uzair Cassiem make up the back-row.

Kieran Hardy and Dan Jones are at scrum-half and fly-half respectively, with Paul Asquith and captain Kieron Fonotia outside them in the centre.

The ever-impressive Johnny McNicholl and Ioan Nicholas are on the wings with Halfpenny at full-back to finish up the XV.

Patchell and Evans are among the subs as the team will hope to continue their incredible home form which has seen them lose only one match since September 2016 in front of their fans.

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivoc spoken about his delight at his teams win against the Cheetahs last weekend but is expecting a different challenge against the current Conference A leaders.

“We all know that Munster are going to be a very different proposition. They will bring a lot aggression and line-speed in defence, which poses a different challenge. We need to be on our game and are expecting more of an arm wrestle,” he said.

Munster are one point ahead of Glasgow at the summit of Conference A and will need a special performance in Wales as the Scarlets will be looking to close the five-point gap between them in fifth and Benetton in second in Conference B.

A win for either could be vital come the end of the regular season.

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Pro14

Leinster Duo to Miss Start of Season

Leinster have confirmed that two players will miss the start of the upcoming season in what is a big blow for the province

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Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has confirmed that both Ciaran Frawley and Barry Daly have suffered injuries in pre-season and will miss the start of the season.

Young fly-half Frawley impressed last season when given his chances, and with Johnny Sexton at the World Cup it was an opportunity for him and Ross Byrne to share the No 10 jersey. 

However, Cullen has confirmed that Frawley has suffered an ankle ligament injury during their win over the Northampton Saints last week and has undergone a procedure to fix the problem. The bad news is that he will be out of action for six to eight weeks. 

Along with Frawley, back Daly has picked up a knee ligament and cartilage injury during a training session. 

Like his teammate he has undergone a procedure to mend the issue, however, he is expected to be unavailable for selection for up to five months. 

With a number of key men on international duty with Ireland at the Rugby World Cup in Japan for the next two months the squad is already stretched and these will come as massive set-backs for Cullen and co. 

Leinster begin their PRO14 campaign on Sunday the 28th of September away to last season’s surprise package Benetton and they will hope to get off to a winning start as they attempt to claim their third league title on the bounce. 

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Pro14

Glasgow Warriors Sign Highlanders Prop

Glasgow Warriors have confirmed the arrival of an experienced Super Rugby loosehead

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Glasgow Warriors have announced the signing of Highlanders prop on a two-year contract ahead of the 2019/20 season.

The loosehead’s move is subject to visa and a medical with the club, which he is expected to pass, and he is excited to make the move to Scotstoun.

“I’m really looking forward to moving to Glasgow. It’s going to be a new challenge for me and I’m excited about the opportunity to play in Europe. The coaching team’s reputation speaks for itself – Dave is highly regarded and I can’t wait to work with him. I also know Siua from our time at the Highlanders, so I’m sure he’ll help me settle in. Glasgow Warriors have a very strong squad and made it to the Guinness PRO14 final last season, so I know I’ll have to get my head down and work hard to compete for my place in the team,” he said while speaking to glasgowwarriors.org.

Seiuli will bring a huge amount of experience to the Glasgow set-up having notched up 38 appearances for the Highlanders and featuring in the side that defeated the 2017 British & Irish Lions.

His shear power and size is something that head coach Dave Rennie is looking forward to having in his side and believes he will fit in well.

“Aki is a hell of an athlete. We identified him as someone with that point of difference around his ball carrying and physicality. He’s a good man and someone who we believe will fit in really well into our environment. He knows he’ll need to come over and work hard because we’re going to have a lot of competition in that loosehead spot this season,” he said.

The 26-year-old will be helped to settle in by former teammate Siua Halanukonuka whom he spent time with previously. If he does settle in quickly it will be a massive prospect for the Warriors fans ahead of the new season as they look to go one step further and win the PRO14 title as well as competing in the Champions Cup.

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Owens retains Scarlets captaincy for new season

2019/2020 Season.

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With Owens set to play an integral part in WalesWorld Cup campaign outside centre Steffan Hughes and former Springboks prop Werner Kruger have been named as vice captains along with Wales squad members James Davies and his brother Jonathan.

The six consecutive seasons at the helm is a record for the Scarlets in the regional era and brings Owens alongside the great Phil Bennett, the Scarlets president, who captained Llanelli RFC between 1973 and 1979. “Ken is an outstanding leader,” said new Scarlets head coach Brad Mooar.

“I heard the other night Alun Wyn Jones refer to him as the heart of any team he is in, such high praise from a legend of the game and something that has been really clear to me from the time I have been involved in this Scarets journey. Ken’s heart beats Scarlets.

“I first met Ken about a year ago. He is held in such high regard, is such a genuine Scarlets person and an outstanding rugby player. Without exception, everybody I have spoken to – players, management, staff, the board – everyone speaks highly of Ken and his leadership abilities.

“He has played for and captained the British and Irish Lions, has been part of the leadership group for Wales. It is an absolute no-brainer that he is the right man to lead this team, club and its people.

“It is a World Cup year so we have got four vice-captains who are superb leaders in their own right, players who lead in different ways and contribute greatly to the group. That allows us to have a leadership group that is seamless throughout the year.

“With Cubby, Werner, Steff and Fox it is an awesome group to help Ken lead us. We had a launch here at Parc y Scarlets and their involvement and engagement has been outstanding.

“It is not just about the boys who are physically here now; Ken, Fox and Cubby’s connection and involvement with me, with the group and with the players, player to player, you can see that is there, as it has been with all the guys who have been involved with Wales.

“They are Scarlets at heart, they live and breathe it, and there is a huge amount of IP that will lead us throughout the season.”

Owens, who won his 67th cap for his country against Ireland last weekend, said: “It is a huge honour to be again named captain of my home region and, as I said when I was first appointed captain, a privilege to follow in the footsteps of some legends of the game who have led the Scarlets in the past.

“It is an exciting season ahead for the Scarlets and we have a strong leadership group to take us forward.”

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