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Preview: Leinster v Scarlets

Leinster centre Eoin O’Malley knows his side will have to be on top form if they are to prevent the high-flying Scarlets wrecking their 100 per cent home record in the RaboDirect PRO12.

The teams are vying for a place in the play-offs this season with just three points separating Leinster in third from the Scarlets in fourth.

And while Leinster came out on top against their Welsh rivals in both their Heineken Cup games, it was the Scarlets who claimed the bragging honours in the league with a 45-20 victory at Parc y Scarlets in September.

And while Leinster are unbeaten in their last six games – culminating in a 40-5 win over Treviso – the Scarlets are on an equally impressive run, outscoring Munster 18-10 last weekend in their third straight win on the road.

"It was a good win at the weekend," said O'Malley. "A lot of things went our way and Scarlets picked up a win themselves so will be a tough game this weekend.

"The Scarlets picked up a good win to beat Munster and obviously put in a good performance to do that. They beat us in the Rabo with a pretty similar group of players that they will have this weekend and that is in the back of our minds this weekend and we want to set that right really.

"The season is coming into a massively crucial stage. The top of the table is tight and this really is an eight pointer for us. They close in on us if they take the win and we don't want that."

Leo Cullen will captain Leinster, with Irish international Shane Jennings back in the starting XV, while in the backline Isaac Boss plays at half-back with academy player Noel Reid.

Wales internationals Aaron Shingler and Josh Turnbull return for Scarlets and will feature in the back row alongside skipper Rob McCusker.

Last weekend’s man of the match Owen Williams and Aled Jones retain the half-back positions from the win over Munster, while Aled Thomas takes over at full-back for the injured Gareth Owen.

"We have to go back to October 2007 to find the last time we won at the RDS, so we know we have plenty to do out there,” said Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby.

“Leinster have a very proud home record and we know from our encounters in Europe what intensity they can bring.

"We got a good win against them at the beginning of the season and that gives us heart, however we're also well aware that we caught them a bit cold that day and you won't see that in a Leinster team too often.

"We have learnt a lot from our performances in December and January and particularly our games against them in the Heineken Cup, we know that any mistakes from us will be capitalised on. They are a well-coached and well-drilled team."

At RDS Dublin, 7.45pm.
Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR, 16th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Michael Black, Jonathan Peak (both IRFU)
Citing Commissioner: Peter Ferguson (IRFU)
TMO: Dermot Moloney (IRFU)

Live on TG4

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