Leaders Leinster welcome back Irish quartet for visit of Scarlets

With a combined total of nine internationals released to them from Six Nations camps this week, both Leinster and Scarlets will be boosted by a plethora of faces keen to make an impression on international coaches at the RDS tonight.

Sean Cronin, David Kearney, Fergus McFadden and Eoin Reddan all return to the Irish province’s starting line-up after their involvement in Ireland’s last game against Wales just under a fortnight ago.

Also included in the 23 is back-row Dominic Ryan who will be hoping to end a three-and-a-half month absence through injury but that doesn’t complete the list of those players with half an eye on the international front.

Ian Madigan has done nothing this season, or of late, to dispute the feeling that he is next in line for a senior green jersey behind Jonathan Sexton and Ronan O’Gara.

Leinster’s entire back-row of Kevin McLaughlin, Shane Jennings and Rhys Ruddock have international cases to contest and so too does lock Devin Toner, although McLaughlin, for one, is just glad to be back on the park after a badly-timed injury in the New Year.

“It didn’t help but I’m enjoying my rugby here, keeping my head down, keep playing,” he said. “In fairness, I had a chat with Deccie [Kidney] and he said ‘you’re by no means out of the mix-up’. I’m content to keep playing my rugby here and if it happens, it happens.”

Nigel Davies has received a similar bounty from the Principality’s national set up in the shape of four Welsh internationals, as well as Ben Morgan who has been released from Stuart Lancaster’s England camp for the Dublin fixture.

The four clocking in after the Millennium Stadium win against Scotland are Liam Williams and Stephen Jones at wing and out-half, respectively, Scott Williams at centre while prop Rhodri Jones comes in for the injured Iestyn Thomas at loosehead.

Morgan is on the bench for the West Wales side which sits seventh in the Pro 12 table, having reached the semi-finals of the LV= Cup and are in contention for Amlin Challenge Cup honours although Davies has been unimpressed by recent efforts against Sale and Glasgow.

“We’re going to the RDS with every intent to win the game and having the opportunity to welcome back a few fresh faces will give us a boost. We know we have a lot of work to do from here on in. We’ve dropped off the standard a little bit.

“We’ve been very hard on ourselves this week but in saying that we are competitive in every aspect in the majority of our games and we just need to ensure that we get back to where we know we can be now [this] evening.”

LEINSTER: I Nacewa; D Kearney, E O’Malley, F McFadden, F Carr; I Madigan, E Reddan; J McGrath, S Cronin, J Hagan; D Browne, D Toner; K McLaughlin; S Jennings, R Ruddock.

SCARLETS: D Newton; L Williams, G Maule, S Williams, A Fenby; S Jones, G Davies; R Jones, E Phillips, D Manu; S Timani, D Day; J Turnbull, J Edwards, K Murphy.

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