Seán O’Brien aiming to grasp his opportunity against Scarlets
Leinster captain will be looking to impress Joe Schmidt ahead of England showdown
Sean O’Brien: has returned from injury and will captain Leinster against the Scarlets in Wales. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho
Storm Emma may have aided Seán O’Brien in his quest to play against England in the final match of the Six Nations Championship next weekend.
O’Brien captains the Leinster side that travels to Wales for the refixed game that was postponed because of bad weather.
Coach Leo Cullen should be pleased. He loses centre Garry Ringrose to Ireland but gains the ‘Tullow Tank’, who has fully recovered from a hip injury.
Dave Kearney is the other frustrated player, who didn’t make Joe Schmidt’s Ireland panel, in a patched up side.
Coming off a bonus point win against Ulster, Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac has made one change in the backline and two in the pack.
It has been already said but the two top teams playing each other twice without their international players undermines the competition.
“After this game is played and we get the internationals back, it’s the run-in in both competitions and it’s a really exciting time,” said Pivac.
“Leinster have a lot of threats, we know that, and we’re going to have to be on our game to get a result.”
James Lowe is one of those threats along with Kearney and the pace of Barry Daly on the right wing. Twins Ed and Bryan Byrne with Michael Bent should provide a solid platform in the pack
But four-times capped winger for England, Tom Varndell, who is on a short term contract until the end of the season, is on the Scarlets bench.
Just three points separate the sides at the top of Conference B with the Scarlets looking to maintain a proud home record in the league which stretches back to the opening game of last season.
LEINSTER: D Kearney, B Daly, R O’Loughlin, N Reid, J Lowe, R Byrne, N McCarthy; E Byrne, B Byrne, M Bent, R Molony, S Fardy, J Murphy, S O’Brien (c), J Conan. Replacements: J Tracy, P Dooley, A Coyle, M Kearney, M Deegan, C Rock, C Frawley, A Byrne.
SCARLETS: T Williams, I Nicholas, P Asquith, S Hughes (c), R Conbeer, D Jones, J Evans, P Price, R Elias, W Kruger, S Cummins, D Bulbring, T Beirne, J Macleod, W Boyde. Replacements: E Phillips, R Fawcett, S Gardiner, J Helps, L Rawlins, D Smith, I Hughes, T Varndell
Referee: N Owens (WRU)
Verdict: Scarlets win