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Leo Cullen hopes for improvement from Leinster as Scarlets come to Dublin


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Leinster head coach Leo Cullen is demanding an improvement from his players as the Guinness PRO 14 champions Scarlets come to town this Saturday.

Leinster went down 29-24 away to Edinburgh last Friday night in the Guinness PRO14, in what was the province’s third loss of the season.

Cullen knows they will need to get better when the in-form Welsh side visit the RDS:

“We scored some good tries, but we gifted them some easy opportunities, a charge-down and then having the ball stripped out which led to two tries and kept Edinburgh in the game.

“They were always there, we couldn’t quite shake them off, so it’s disappointing the way it ended.”

Fortune favoured the Blues though as Scarlets were beaten by Benetton Rugby last weekend, that loss allowed Leinster to take top spot in Conference B after picking up a losing bonus point on the road.

Former Leinster lock Mike McCarthy also believes the Blues will be 'hurting' after last weekend's defeat at Edinburgh and will be looking to show their ability to bounce back.

McCarthy feels Leinster need to make improvements in the breakdown, an area where he says they underperformed in their last meeting against  the Welsh side. 

"An area where they probably lacked against the Scarlets was probably the breakdown. Davies in the back row. And Tadhg Byrne, especially, getting over the ball and slowing the ball down. Leinster like to play it at pace."

 The upcoming games will go a long way to shaping Leinster’s season, they will face Scarlets twice over the next three weeks.

The clashes with the Welsh side are broken up by a potentially tricky test against the Southern Kings who visit the RDS on Friday, 23rd February.

 

In team news, Jordan Larmour is back in the Leinster XV having made his Ireland debut off the bench in the comprehensive win over Italy in the Six Nations.

Adam Byrne completes his comeback by taking a place in the team having made an appearance last weekend in Edinburgh, which was his first outing since recovering from knee surgery.

James Lowe comes in on the left wing. Noel Reid and Rory O'Loughlin are the centre pairing.

Luke McGrath captains the side from scrumhalf with Ross Byrne selected to start at out-half.

In the pack Ed Byrne and Michael Bent are joined by Seán Cronin who came off the bench against Italy last weekend, with Ross Molony and Scott Fardy in the second row.

In the back row Josh Murphy and Max Deegan are again selected with Jordi Murphy coming in to the team at openside flanker for his 100th appearance for the province.

Leinster Rugby (caps in brackets):

15. Jordan Larmour (14)
14. Adam Byrne (32)
13. Rory O'Loughlin (34)
12. Noel Reid (94)
11. James Lowe (5)
10. Ross Byrne (42)
9. Luke McGrath (89) CAPTAIN 
1. Ed Byrne (18)
2. Seán Cronin (145)
3. Michael Bent (100)
4. Ross Molony (56)
5. Scott Fardy (14)
6. Josh Murphy (4)
7. Jordi Murphy (99)
8. Max Deegan (12)

16. Richardt Strauss (152)
17. Peter Dooley (43)
18. Oisín Heffernan (2)
19. Ian Nagle (14)
20. Will Connors (1)
21. Nick McCarthy (18)
22. Ciarán Frawley (0)
23. Barry Daly (19)

Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)


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