Ireland lock Devin Toner has warned the Scarlets that Leinster will be on mission to make amends for five years of failure when they visit Llanelli on Saturday night.
The Scarlets will face Leinster’s big guns after the Guinness Pro14 champions decided to load up on internationals for their second trip to Wales in a week.
The repeat of last year’s Pro14 final and European Champions Cup semi-final – both of which the Scarlets lost – will see the Irish province at much nearer full strength after making 11 changes to the side that won narrowly at Cardiff Blues.
For their part, the Scarlets have also strengthened their line-up with Wales internationals Leigh Halfpenny, Hadleigh Parkes, Samson Lee and Jake Ball all returning as well as New Zealander Johnny McNicholl.
Leinster welcome back Ireland internationals Robbie Henshaw, Jordon Lamour, Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong and giant second row Devin Toner.
“We haven’t won over there since 2013 and we’re going to be hugely up for it,” said Toner.
Leinster scrum coach John Fogarty said: “There’s going to be an edge to this game.
“We played them four times last year, it’s going to be tough. The final was a tough game to lose, for them, they did a lot of good things in the game.
“When we’re away from home, discipline is going to be very important – that we’re not putting ourselves under pressure and if we are, can we react in the right way?
“We cannot be turned over on the ground as much, we have to be nice and smart where we play the game. They present a big wall of 14, so there’ll be space for us to kick – we need to be smart with our kicks, a nice varied attack. It’s going to be tough, but the lads are really, really aware of it.”
The Scarlets come into the fixture off the back of a 15-13 defeat to unfancied Ulster in their opening game away in Ireland.
It’s had immediate repercussions as coach Wayne Pivac dropped Wales wing Steff Evans to the Scarlets ‘A’ side for this weekend.
“It’s a game we’ve looked forward to, because they are the benchmark, both in this competition and in Europe,” said Pivac.
“They wiped us off the park in Dublin the first time, we played better the second time but they were still deserved winners.
“It will be a good yardstick for us. We’ve got disruption within the squad, that’s well documented in terms of injures, but they will have disruptions too.
“It’s going to be an interesting encounter and a tough game, no matter what team they bring.”
Scarlets: Halfpenny; McNicholl, Fonotia, Parkes, Prydie; D Jones, G Davies, R Evans, Owens (c), Lee, Ball, Cummins, Thomson, J Davies, J Macleod.
Replacements; Elias, Price, Kruger, Rawlins, Kennedy, Hidalgo-Clyne, Asquith, Nicholas.
Leinster: Larmour; McFadden, O’Loughlin, Henshaw, Lowe; R Byrne, Gibson-Park Healy, S Cronin, Furlong, Toner, Nagle, J Murphy, Ruddock (c), Conan
Replacements: Tracy, Dooley, Porter, Kearney, Deegan, L McGrath, Reid, Tomane.
Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)
Touch judges: Dave Sutherland (SRU), Wayne Davies (WRU)