Aviva set for derby showdown
September 29, 2010
Ireland's big two will get to know one another once again at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday © Getty Images
Scarlets 18 - 21 Ospreys Leinster 13 - 9 Munster Ulster 19 - 17 Glasgow Benetton Treviso 20 - 13 Dragons Cardiff Blues 22 - 6 Connacht
Benetton Treviso Cardiff Blues Connacht Dragons Edinburgh Glasgow Leinster Munster Ospreys Scarlets Ulster
Dublin's new Aviva Stadium will host its first serious game of rugby on Saturday evening as Leinster host Munster at the redeveloped Lansdowne Road venue.
The match is set to break the Magners League attendance record with more than 50,000 seats already sold. The season may be just four games old, but the clash has added importance for Leinster's new coach Joe Schmidt, who has had a difficult start to his reign. The eastern province have won just one of their opening four games, succumbing to Edinburgh in last Friday's clash.
Leinster are set to make a decision on the fitness of Jonny Sexton closer to kick-off, with the Ireland fly-half bracketed alongside Isa Nacewa. Jamie Heaslip skippers the side from No.8 while the centre pairing of Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy are present and correct. Nathan Hines and Cian Healy return in the pack.
Tony Buckley has withdrawn from the Munster team having been selected, so John Hayes will be promoted from the bench. Niall Ronan has beaten David Wallace to the Munster No.7 jersey, with Alan Quinlan returning at blindside. Wian du Preez and John Hayes start in the front-row while the backline remains unchanged.
The weekend's action got under on Thursday as Cardiff Blues overcame Connacht on a 22-6 scoreline to go top of the table at the Cardiff City Stadium
Second-placed Scarlets host the Ospreys at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday evening in a bid to keep the pressure on the league leaders. Wales centre Jon Davies misses out through injury for the Scarlets, as does hooker Ken Owens. Gareth Maule starts in midfield as a result, while Emyr Phillips provides back-up to skipper Matthew Rees.
James Hook returns on the Ospreys bench after his summer surgery, while Mike Phillips starts alongside Dan Biggar at halfback. Richard Fussell beats Nikki Walker to a place in the back three alongside Lee Byrne and Shane Williams.
Ulster will look to maintain their unbeaten start, but return to winning ways, as Glasgow Warriors visit Ravenhill on Friday evening looking to pick up a second win of the season and end a three game losing streak. The home side will celebrate skipper Rory Best's 100th cap for the province while high-profile summer signing Ruan Pienaar will make his debut at scrum-half.
The Warriors have named an unchanged starting XV for the game but have made minor alterations on the bench, where Pat MacArthur and Ryan Grant are given the nod ahead of Dougie Hall and Kevin Tkachuk.
Edinburgh and the Dragons make their way to Italy looking to inject some life into their stuttering campaigns. The Scottish side go to Viadana to face bottom side Airioni on the back of their four try win over Leinster. Jim Thompson makes his first appearance of the season after knee surgery, replacing the injured Chris Paterson. Greig Laidlaw starts at scrum-half alongside David Blair. Kyle Traynor starts ahead of Allan Jacobsen at loose-head.
Benetton Treviso, meanwhile, hope to welcome the Dragons to northern Italy in a similar style that they did Leinster two weeks ago and secure their third home win of the season. Italian international Ludovico Nitoglia starts on the wing for Treviso, while regular scrum-half Tobie Botes shifts to fullback.
The visitors have handed a first start to Bath loanee Tom Cheeseman in the centre, while midfielder Ashley Smith makes his long-awaited comeback on the bench. Andrew Coombs starts at No.8 and Wales international Luke Charteris is rested. Former Blues duo Scott Morgan and Rob Sidoli form the second-row partnership.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter