Tuesday 30 May 2017

FOCUS ON TONIGHT'S PRO12 MATCHES Cian Tracey

Scarlets v Leinster

Parc y Scarlets (7.35)

Live BBC Wales

Referee: S Gallagher (IRFU)

Team news: Rory O'Loughlin returns from a shoulder injury to partner Noel Reid in midfield for Leinster while in-form winger Adam Byrne will be looking to score for the third consecutive game.

Ross Byrne will pull the strings at out-half in the absence of Johnny Sexton, Joey Carbery and Cathal Marsh. The former Ireland U-20 star is a huge talent and will be desperate to make the most of his opportunity. Peter Dooley starts at loosehead with Dominic Ryan earning a recall in the back-row.

Talking point: Despite not having played a game in two weeks, it's been an important period for Leinster as five of their exciting young talents have been capped by Ireland for the first time since the win over Zebre.

While Leo Cullen is again without a host of his front-liners for the trip to face a buoyant Scarlets side, he can recall Dan Leavy to his starting XV while James Tracy and Luke McGrath are amongst the replacements.

All three made their international debuts against Canada two weeks ago and Cullen will be hoping that they each come back into the Leinster set-up eager to impress again.

Parc y Scarlets hasn't been a happy hunting ground for Leinster in recent years but fresh after taking time out of his busy schedule to check out Paul Simon's gig in Dublin earlier this week, Cullen will be hoping that his side aren't 'slip slidin' away' from top spot come Saturday evening.

Verdict: Scarlets

Connacht v Cardiff Blues

Sportsground (7.35)

Live TG4

Referee: N Owens (WRU)

Team news: Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney and John Cooney are back from injury. Ronan Loughney and Nepia Fox-Matamua are also fit again and are amongst the replacements for Pat Lam's side.

Recently-signed South African out-half Marnitz Boshoff is in line to make his Connacht debut from the bench.

Talking point: The two-week break could hardly have come at a better time for Connacht as they look to regroup ahead of a crucial period of the season.

The Pro12 champions have struggled, winning just two of their seven games which has them languishing third from bottom of the table.

Verdict: Connacht

Ulster v Zebre

Kingspan Stadium (7.35)

Live BBC 2

Referee: C Evans (WRU)

Team news: Chris Henry will make his first appearance of the season following six months out with a shoulder injury. Louis Ludik is also back after injury, while Luke Marshall and Craig Gilroy are available following their time away with Ireland. Charles Piutau, Tommy Bowe and youngster Jacob Stockdale make up an explosive back three.

Talking point: Marshall will be playing with a point to prove when Ulster look to get their title challenge back on track. The centre paid the price for his below-par performance against Canada and was overlooked by Joe Schmidt for tomorrow's international against Australia.

Verdict: Ulster

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