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Munster to turn the screw on Scarlets

Munster v Scarlets, Musgrave Park Sunday (KO 5.0), Live Setanta Sports 1

What could have been the coming together of British and Irish Lions out-halfs has possibly descended into a mismatch as Munster look to turn the screw ahead of the fifth round of the Heineken Cup

The absence of the Scarlets' Stephen Jones with a shoulder injury makes their intention to become the first Welsh club since Cardiff in October 2007 to win in Munster an even more unlikely prospect.

Even worse, Llanelli have suffered five straight defeats by the Irish provinces and eight consecutive reverses to Munster. It would take a one-eyed optimist to see anything other than a home win.


For their part, Munster, led by captain Paul O'Connell, will want to get into their patterns and rhythm as quickly as possible as they look to make their extraordinary physical domination of Perpignan the rule rather than the exception.

Coach Tony McGahan will have to decide on the chemistry in his back row as Denis Leamy and the disappointing Nick Williams are hors de combat. It opens the door to an opportunity for either Niall Ronan or Billy Holland.

The absence of props John Hayes, Julien Brugnaut and Marcus Horan from the front row would offer a chink of light to Llanelli if they possessed the sort of scrum that could do damage. They don't.

Verdict: Munster