Wednesday 7 December 2016

Magners league previews

Published 12/02/2011 | 05:00

Connacht v Scarlets

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Today, Sportsground, 7.35,

Live TG4

Sean Cronin misses out for Connacht as he is on the Ireland bench for tomorrow's Aviva clash, but elsewhere the home side look strong.

Adrian Flavin and Michael Swift both start, having signed new deals yesterday, along with sub Ray Ofisa.

Scarlets are without their key trio of Matthew Rees, Stephen Jones and David Lyons and appear vulnerable.

Talking point: Eric Elwood's charges must exorcise the ghost of their last meeting with the Llanelli side when they came so, so close to getting a vital away win before losing late on. A victory would be a crucial boost at this point of their season.

Verdict: Connacht

Connacht -- G Duffy; B Tuohy, N Ta'auso, T Nathan, F Carr; I Keatley, F Murphy; B Wilkinson, A Flavin, J Hagan; M Swift, M McCarthy; A Browne, J O'Connor (capt), M McComish. Replacements: D Murphy, D Rogers, R Ah You, B Upton, R Ofisa, C Willis, M Nikora, S Monahan.

Scarlets -- D Evans; D Daniel, R King, S Williams, G Maule; D Newton, M Roberts; I Thomas (capt), E Phillips, R Thomas; V Cooper, L Reed; R McCusker, J Edwards, B Morgan. Replacements: R Lawrence, S Gardiner, O Evans, J Fa'amatuainu, N Cudd, G Davies, O Williams, N Reynolds.

Ref -- A McMenemy (SRU).

Treviso v Munster

Tomorrow, Stadio Comunale di

Monigo, 2.0. Live TG4

Tony McGahan has named a youthful starting XV for the leaders' trip to Treviso. Ian Nagle, Dave Foley, Tommy O'Donnell and Stephen Archer start in an inexperienced pack, which also includes Darragh Hurley and Billy Holland.

In the backs, winger Simon Zebo is handed his first Magners start of the season. With Peter Stringer drafted into the Irish squad, Duncan Williams will partner Paul Warwick in the half-backs..

Talking point: Treviso coach Franco Smith was unable to name the final three spots for his bench due to international duty, injuries, and suspensions, so it is an ideal opportunity for the Reds' young guns to show their worth. Verdict: Munster

Treviso -- B Williams; L Nitoglia, E Galon, A Pratichetti, M Sepe; W de Waal, T Botes; M Rizzo, F Sbaraglini, L Cittadini; A Pavanello (capt), C Van Zyl; G Padrò, B Vermaak, M Filippucci Replacements: E Ceccato, M Muccignat, P di Santo, E Pavanello, A Marcato, 21-23 tbc.

Munster -- Munster: S Deasy; D Howlett, T Gleeson, L Mafi, S Zebo; P Warwick, D Williams; D Hurley, D Varley, S Archer; I Nagle, D Foley; B Holland, T O'Donnell, J Coughlan. Replacements: M Sherry, W du Preez, P Borlase, M O'Driscoll, D Ryan, C Sheridan, S Tuitupou, D Hurley.

Ref -- J Jones

Ospreys v Ulster

Tomorrow, Liberty Stadium 5.10.

Live S4C

The Ireland camp have not released Andrew Trimble despite being fit again but Ulster's team to face the Ospreys retains plenty of experience up front.

Craig Gilroy impressed for the Ireland U-20s last week and will look to continue his try-scoring form. The Ospreys are missing a host of Welsh internationals, but have some experience in the back-row.

Talking point: A battle between Ulster's South Africans and the ex-All Blacks in the Ospreys pack. With so many internationals away, the visitors will hope to successfully raid the Liberty Stadium prior to their big Heineken Cup visit to Milton Keynes, but the Ospreys may have too much in reserve.

Verdict: Ospreys.

Ulster -- A D'Arcy; C Gilroy, I Whitten, N Spence, S Danielli; I Humphreys, R Pienaar; B Young, n Brady, D Fitzpatrick; T Barker, J Muller (capt); C Henry, W Faloon, P Wannenburg. Replacements: A Kyriacou, J Cronin, A Whitten, R Caldwell, TJ Anderson, P Marshall, L Marshall, D McIlwaine.

Ospreys -- R Fussell; T Prydie, S Parker, A Beck, H Dirksen; D Biggar, R Webb; D Jones, H Bennett, C Griffiths; I Gough, I Evans; T Smith, M Holah, J Collins. Replacements: M Davies, R Bevington, C Cross, J King, J Tipuric, J Nutbrown, G Owen, T Isaacs.

Ref -- N Paterson (SRU).

Irish Independent

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