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Scarlets Healy
A match that will be decided on the smallest of margins.
You can tell that this match means a lot to both teams when the two starting lineups have minimal changes. The coaches are trusting the men that have delivered for them before to go out and do it again as the business end of the season fast approaches.

Starting XV: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Tiernan O’Halloran, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion
1 Denis Buckley, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 3 Rodney Ah You, 4 Aly Muldowney, 5 Mick Kearney, 6 John Muldoon (c), 7 Eoghan Masterson, 8 Eoin McKeon
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Nathan White, 19 Michael Swift 20 Andrew Browne, 21 Frank Murphy, 22 Miah Nikora, 23. Darragh Leader
Unavailable/Injured: Brett Wilkinson, Sean Henry, James Rael, Craig Clarke, Jake Heenan, Willie Faloon, Conor Gilsenan, Conor Kindregran, Aaron Conneely, George Naoupu, Paul O’Donohoe, Craig Ronaldson.

Starting XV: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Kristian Phillips, 13 Jonathan Davies (c), 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Jordan Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Gareth Davies
1 Phil John, 2 Ken Owens, 3 Rhodri Jones, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Johan Snyman, 6 Josh Turnbull, 7 John Barclay, 8 Sione Timani
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Richard Kelly, 20 Lewis Rawlins, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Gareth Maule

Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli
Date: Sunday, 30th March 2014
Kick-off: 14.05
TV Broadcasts: BBC Wales, RTÉ 2
Referee: Neil Paterson (SRU, 58th competition game)

Connacht's starting XV is a replica of the one which took a devastating toll on the Dragons last Sunday. The continued absence of Danie Poolman indicates both trust in Leader and a demand from Lam that players play and train themselves into contention for a spot in the match-day 23. We may be seeing the dividends of such a policy already given the consistency in performances recently.

The Scarlets' side lining out against Connacht has only one new face compared to the side that lost to Glasgow, and that is the re-introduction of Wales out-half Rhys Priestland, who comes in in-place of Aled Thomas. Liam Williams at fullback is a danger, especially when combined with the space creating abilities of Jonathan Davies, who captains the side this week at centre. At inside centre ex-England international Ollie Barkley is not only an experienced operator but a definite kicking option who could pin Connacht back if we adopt a mid-field rush in defence. Connacht fans will be glad not to see Frazier Climo included, whose try just before half-time in the return fixture in November knocked the wind out of Connacht's sails.
Among the heavies, the only change is that Rhodri Jones and Jake Ball are promoted from the bench. The inclusion of Rhodri Jones instead of the combative Jacobie Adriaanse will cause some concern for Scarlets fans given the must-win nature of the match, where a more experienced head might be preferred, but there is little between the two in reality. Jake Ball is another returning Welsh international and he is partnered by Synman, a 6'7'' South African who joined Scarlets this year, who takes the spot vacated (through injury) by first-team regular George Earle. In the back row the absence of McCusker and Shingler through injuries has forced the inclusion of Sione Timani, who has struggled to recreate his form against Ulster earlier in the season, out of position at Number 8, and the young bench option of Rawlins means that Scarlets will be hoping that their starters will last.

Connacht are on a good run of results at the minute (a 4 win streak but who's counting eh?). Against the Dragons last week Connacht's ferociously powerful and controlled mauls did enormous damage against a side that surely had to have seen it coming, given the fact it had been used extensively against the Italians and Edinburgh previously. The Dragons cannot blame anyone but themselves for their inability to contain the situation, and it will have further emphasised the potency of that weapon to the Scarlets. Not only did Connacht dominate at mauls but also at lineouts and scrums, and Scarlets will be looking to neutralise that threat from the start. Perhaps a higher score could have been achieved had the TV official spotted the Dragons' openside preventing a try from an offside position, but nevertheless Connacht came away with a bonus point victory.
The Scarlets however are not the Dragons. Scarlets have had a solid scrum this season and will fancy themselves to hold their own or more against the Connacht pack. The threat of a shove, whether in a scrum or in mauls from lineouts, will force Scarlets to keep their men committed and ensure that their close quarters game comes first. This should not really be a problem for a large Scarlets pack with plenty of power though, and the up-front battle will be won on the smallest of margins. That margin may come in the form of Timani, who if he finds his form is the kind of powerful heavy-weight runner that Connacht may find difficult to stop.
In the backs Connacht's defence was immense last week, with Eoin Griffin and Robbie Henshaw in particular standing out with impressive tackling. This workrate will need to be replicated against Scarlets whose backline is skillful and dangerous despite the loss of Climo. Of course the star of the Scarlets backline is Davies, and Griffin's impressive form will need to continue against the B&I Lion. Henshaw will have his hands full with Liam Williams whose appearances for Wales this season have acquainted many Irish fans with his talents.
Connacht however have skillful attackers of their own and, unlike last week, they will need to be used. As mentioned Scarlets have a superior pack to the Dragons and while Connacht may be tempted to go for "route one", they will find themselves getting little return unless they can test the Scarlets defence a little wider out also. The Scarlets have put 24/25 points on us in the last three meetings, so that is what Connacht need to aim for. However way the match plays out though, if both teams show up tomorrow, then it'll come right down to the wire.
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