Scarlets v Leinster teams for PRO14 final

Leinster vs Scarlets LIVE: Leinster v Scarlets teams for PRO14 final

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Leinster vs Scarlets

April 21, 2018, 3:00pm

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Leinster vs Scarlets Live
Leinster vs Scarlets Live Stream Online

The Scarlets travel to Dublin for their first Champions Cup semi-final since 2007 to take on tournament favourites Leinster at the Aviva Stadium.

Leinster have been in formidable form this campaign and are the only side unbeaten in this year’s tournament, but the Scarlets will draw on last season’s PRO12 campaign when they went to Dublin and knocked the Irish province out at the semi-final stage and went onto win the final at Saturday’s venue: Aviva Stadium.

No Welsh team has ever been crowned European champions – will the Scarlets buck that trend?

Here’s all you need to know ahead of the game……
Form
Stuart Barnes thinks Leinster will be too strong for Scarlets in their Champions Cup semi-final clash in Dublin

Leinster: DLWWL

Leinster were the top-ranked side throughout the pool phase, coming through a strong group that included Montpellier, Glasgow and Exeter with a 100 per cent record.

They followed up with a convincing 30-19 quarter-final win over defending champions Saracens earlier this month.
Sean Cronin talks Leinster’s winning culture, Tadhg Furlong’s head and missing teeth!

Leo Cullen’s men also top the PRO14 Conference B table – despite their shock 17-15 loss to Benetton last time out

Leinster are boosted by the return from injury of Ireland international centre Robbie Henshaw, who partners Garry Ringrose in midfield, with fly-half Johnny Sexton captaining the team.

Scarlets: DLWWL

The Scarlets’ European campaign started off with two losses to Toulon and Bath but they turned things around with four wins on the trot to top their pool.

In the quarter-final, 19 points from the boots of Leigh Halfpenny saw them to a 29-17 win over La Rochelle and booked them a place in the semi-finals.

The defending PRO12 champions are second behind Leinster on the PRO14 Conference B table but their second-string side were well beaten 52-14 by Edinburgh last weekend.

Head coach Wayne Pivac has moved Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny to the wing, with injuries sidelining Johnny McNicholl, Paul Asquith and Tom Prydie.
Rhys Patchell has moved to full-back for the match at the Aviva Stadium
Rhys Patchell has moved to full-back for the match at the Aviva Stadium

Halfpenny will wear the No 14 shirt, while Rhys Patchell moves from fly-half to full-back and Dan Jones moves into the team as Gareth Davies’ half-back partner.
Last meeting

Scarlets 10-10 Leinster, Parc y Scarlets, PRO14, March 2018

Fly-half Dan Jones kicked a last-gasp penalty to secure Scarlets a dramatic 10-10 draw against Leinster in their PRO14 clash.

The Scarlets were trailing 10-7 and just as the clock went red, referee Nigel Owens awarded the home side a lifeline and from 28 metres, Jones put the kick through the posts.
Key player
Johnny Sexton will hope to lead Leinster to a first European showpiece since 2012
Johnny Sexton will hope to lead Leinster to a first European showpiece since 2012

Johnny Sexton will once again be the key man for Leinster and the Scarlets will look to put him under huge pressure. The fly-half will also have the added burden of skippering the side and getting the best out of Jamison Gibson-Park at No 9.

For the Scarlets, second rower Tadhg Beirne will be relishing taking it to his former club. When he is not stealing lineouts, making tackles or scoring tries, he is turning the ball over – a formidable 53 this season and he will be a big ball carrier for the Scarlets as well.
Pre-match thoughts

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen: “We played them during the Six Nations and obviously they will have different players now, but they have the same traits.

“They were very good in the semi-final last year at the RDS and some new characters have emerged in both teams.
Head coach Leo Cullen and his Leinster side are on the cusp of reaching Bilbao
Head coach Leo Cullen and his Leinster side are on the cusp of reaching Bilbao

“They are a very efficient team that are very hard to break down. They have a lot of pace out wide and are very strong on turnovers with very skilful players.

“A huge amount of work has gone in behind the scenes and that will hopefully lead to a good performance.”

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac: “To be unbeaten in the competition, and to do that home and away against the
quality of their pool, shows the strength of their squad.
For us, it is a semi-final, it is an opportunity. It is 80 minutes away from creating history, being in our first (European) final. That is the way we are approaching it.

Wayne Pivac

“It is just going to be one of those games where, from the first whistle to the last, we’ve got to be at our best. Our discipline has got to be right up there.

“We know they are the favourites going in, and rightly so because of their form in the competition. You also go through their squad and most people would have them down as favourites.
Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac hopes to create history
Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac hopes to create history

“We are going to have to be sharp in our attack and make sure when those opportunities present themselves we are ready to capitalise. We have to take the points when they are on offer.

“Conversely, at the other end of the field we have to make sure we are disciplined and don’t give those chances to the opposition. We have to make sure our defence is the best it can be.

“For us, it is a semi-final, it is an opportunity. It is 80 minutes away from creating history, being in our first (European) final. That is the way we are approaching it.”
QUIZ: European Cup semi-finals

Champions Cup semi-final rugby is here! So have a go at our quiz ahead of the biggest games of the club season so far.
Team news

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney; 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Isa Nacewa; 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park; 1 Cian Healy, 2 Sean Cronin, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 4 Devin Toner, 5 James Ryan, 6 Scott Fardy, 7 Dan Leavy, 8 Jordi Murphy.

Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Jordan Larmour.

Scarlets: 15 Rhys Patchell; 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans; 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ken Owens, 3 Samson Lee, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 5 David Bulbring, 6 Aaron Shingler, 7 James Davies, 8 John Barclay.

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