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Friend leaves Marmion on the bench for difficult Scarlets start

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Kieran Marmion. Photo: Sportsfile

Kieran Marmion. Photo: Sportsfile

Kieran Marmion. Photo: Sportsfile

Prop Paddy McAllister will make his debut for Connacht against Scarlets in the PRO14 this evening (KO 5.15).

The well-travelled loosehead will face Samson Lee in what is the league's version of a baptism of fire.

The brothers Fitzgerald, Conor and Stephen, will start with Conor taking the reins at out-half beside Caolin Blade.

Certainly, the Western province will have to come out of the gates sharply given the attacking prowess of Johnny McNicholl and Steff Evans outside that able playmaker Dan Jones.

It doesn't get any easier up front where Wales' prickly props Rob Evans and Lee can be a real handful and are masters of the art of scrummaging.

Connacht coach Andy Friend has restricted Kieran Marmion to the bench in what is seems like a strange decision given how the scrum-half has admitted to taking his World Cup omission badly.

The last thing he needs is to sit and watch another game.

Verdict: Scarlets

SCARLETS - J McNicholl; R Conbeer, S Hughes (capt), P Asquith, S Evans; D Jones, K Hardy; R Evans, M Jones, S Lee, S Cummins, L Rawlins, T Phillips, J Macleod, U Cassiem.

Reps: T Davies, P Price, W Kruger, J Helps, D Davis; D Blacker, A O'Brien, C Baldwin.

CONNACHT - T O'Halloran; S Fitzgerald, K Godwin, T Daly, M Healy; C Fitzgerald, C Blade; P McAllister, T McCartney, F Bealham, G Thornbury, Q Roux, E Masterson, C Fainga'a, J Butler (capt).

Reps: S Delahunt, D Buckley, D Robertson-McCoy, U Dillane, E McKeon; K Marmion, P Robb, D Leader.

Scarlets v Connacht,

Live, TG4, 5.15

Irish Independent