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Preview: Leinster v Scarlets

Hooker Aaron Dundon insists Leinster’s returning Ireland stars can give his side the edge when they take on Scarlets in the RaboDirect PRO12 on Saturday.

With players away on international duty over the last three weeks, others have been stepping up to the challenge of powering Leinster through a tough November schedule.

They have done so seamlessly, with Leinster winning their last five contests in all competitions since losing the interprovincial clash with Munster at Thomond Park on October 5.

The Leinstermen's single defeat at the RDS in any tournament since the 2012 RaboDirect PRO12 final was 18-22 to Ulster on March 30 and they have not been defeated by a Welsh region since they visited the Liberty Stadium in November 2012.

But there's a blend of youth and experience across the team named by head coach Matt O’Connor with the province's most capped player Gordon D'Arcy partnering Brendan Macken at centre.

Luke Fitzgerald is one of eight Ireland internationals named in the starting XV and Dundon believes they can boost a squad that is already brimming with confidence.

"The boys that came back have been really positive and given everyone a lift," Dundon said.

"There's been a good buzz around the place. They fit in straight away; it takes them a day. They're buzzing and looking forward to it. They're looking forward to playing against the Scarlets.

"I hope I have (done enough to put myself in contention). I've done well in the last two games but you never know what the coaches are thinking. I hope I've given them something to think about for the selection process."

The Scarlets’ only defeat in their last five RaboDirect PRO12 matches was 12-17 at home to Glasgow in round five.

The Welshmen have lost just once away from home in league season – 16-23 at the Dragons in round three, while they have already won in Ireland this season, 24-21 at Connacht on Saturday.

They have beaten Leinster only once in their last dozen encounters in all tournaments since September 2009, though, and head coach Simon Easterby has made two changes from that clash against Connacht.

Scottish international John Barclay returns back to his regional shirt in the back row with Jo Snyman coming in for the George Earle in the second row.

“Securing points away from home in this period is crucial to our campaign,” said Easterby.

“It was vital to win last weekend and to maintain positive momentum during a very intense couple of months of rugby for this group.

“The boys really dug in well at the end last weekend and we'll need to replicate that level of ambition, commitment and effort throughout if we're to come away with any points from this weekend.”

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