Burgeoning Blues can rock on against Scarlets

Des Berry

JOE SCHMIDT pre-ordained this as another nail in the coffin for Leinster's season or another brick in the wall back towards a shot at the Pro12 title.

The promotion of Ian Madigan to the Ireland squad earlier this week to prepare for Scotland was a blow to Schmidt's preparations for The Scarlets.

Leinster have gathered in 18 points from their last four matches, including two bonus-point victories, to embark on a four-match winning streak that has coincided with the return of previously injured players.

Just last Saturday, the Leinster back row of captain Rhys Ruddock, Dominic Ryan – these two have returned from frequent injuries – and number eight Jordi Murphy (inset) was made up of three graduates of the Leinster Academy.

While there can be no real argument made for their international claims, just yet, they are physically able young men on the rise. They just have to stay free of injury.

The Scarlets will probably bring a quality back row, headed by captain Rob McCusker, to challenge the home side and have had Josh Turnbull, Tavis Knoyle and Aaron Shingler released back into their care by Wales.

They are also loaded with fine three-quarters, just below the Welsh international standard. Liam Williams and Gareth Maule pose different problems and Owen Williams is benefiting from the injury to Rhys Priestland.

Verdict: Leinster

Leinster v The Scarlets, The RDS, Tomorrow (KO 7.45) Live TG4