Tadhg Furlong and Jack Conan in line to return to Leinster pack for Scarlets clash

Robbie Henshaw likely to be kept back to the following week’s game away to Glasgow

Jack Conan is set to return for Leinster in Saturday’s game against the Scarlets at the RDS. Photograph: Ben Brady/Inpho

Not before time, certainly so as far as Andy Farrell is concerned, this weekend's fourth round of matches are set to mark the return of a clutch of Irish players who featured in the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa.

Leinster are expected to name a strong, much changed side compared to the starting XV for last week's 43-7 win over Zebre for Saturday's URC game against the Scarlets at the RDS (kick-off 5.15pm), with the Lions duo of Tadhg Furlong and Jack Conan set to make their seasonal reappearances in the pack.

Andrew Porter, Rónan Kelleher, James Ryan, Ross Molony, Caelan Doris and Josh van der Flier are also in line to be restored, as are Jamison Gibson-Park and Johnny Sexton at halfback. Ciarán Frawley and Garry Ringrose are set to renew their midfield partnership, with James Lowe and Hugo Keenan likely to be restored to the back three.

The indications are that Robbie Henshaw, who played every minute of the Lions' three-match Test series in South Africa, will not return until next Friday's round five game away to Glasgow.


All the signs are that Tadhg Beirne will feature in what will also be a much-changed Munster side for their derby against Connacht at Thomond Park on Saturday (kick-off 7.35pm) given the six-day turnaround from their fine 43-13 win away to the Scarlets last Sunday.

The likes of Peter O'Mahony, Gavin Coombes, Craig Casey and Joey Carbery are all expected to return to the starting line-up, as will Bundee Aki for Connacht.

However, akin to Henshaw, it looks as if Conor Murray's return may be held back until next weekend's game away to the Ospreys, leaving them both with just one outing under their belts just a fortnight away from the first of Ireland's November series against Japan, with New Zealand, a week later, and Argentina to follow.

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times