If Munster don’t continue their remarkable record against the Scarlets it need not be the end of their play off ambitions but that’s not the case for the home side in this evening’s RaboDirect PRO12 game at Parc Y Scarlets (6.30).
Munster have won the last fourteen encounters since losing the 2007 Heineken Cup encounter and Scarlets coach Nigel Davies believes it's time to stop the rot. “It is a huge fixture for us, it is going to be international intensity because that is what Munster bring,” he said this week.
“It has been almost impossible for us to beat them so regardless of what we can and can't do this year, it is important we put a marker down for the next couple of years.”
The last few encounters have been of the closest kind and in particular those back to back games in the Heineken Cup when only a score separated the sides. However, the incentive for Scarlets stretches beyond simple revenge with Davies aware that there's only one outcome that will suffice if his side are to keep their play-off hopes alive.
“We do need favours and to get total control we need to win, win well and try and stop Munster getting anything out of the game.”
George North is back on the wing having missed the trip to Aironi with a groin injury but centre Jonathan Davies is missing with a similar complaint and his place goes to the veteran Stephen Jones whose positioning there will give the Scarlets added options off the set scrum.
Deacon Manu is another influential player who's back in the side and he'll be up against Dave Kilcoyne who makes his first start in a Munster line-up that shows four changes from the side that defeated Glasgow Warriors in Cork last weekend.
Scarlets: L Williams; G North, A Warren, S Jones, S Lamont; R Priestland, G Davies; R Jones, M Rees (capt), D Manu; S Timani, D Day, A Shingler, J Turnbull, B Morgan. Replacements : E Phillips, P John, S Gardiner, M Gilbert, K Murphy, T Knoyle, J Williams, V Iongi.
Munster: F Jones; L O’Dea, J Murphy, L Mafi, S Zebo; I Keatley, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, BJ Botha; M O’Driscoll, P O’Connell (capt); D Ryan, T O’Donnell, P O’Mahony. Replacements : D Varley, W du Preez, S Archer, Donncha O’Callaghan, P Butler, T O’Leary, S Deasy, I Dineen.
Referee: A Rolland (Ireland).