RaboDirect Pro12 preview: Leinster play host to Ospreys while Scarlets face Treviso
By Ben Hampshire - Follow me: @BH92. Last Updated: 14/09/13 2:38pm
Week two of the RaboDirect Pro12 is rounded off on Saturday as defending champions Leinster host Ospreys at the RDS before Treviso travel to the Parc y Scarlets to face Llanelli.
Ospreys travel to the RDS to face defending champions Leinster after both sides got off to a flying start last weekend.
The Leinstermen recorded a ninth successive victory in all competitions at the Parc y Scarlets on Friday as they registered a 42-19 bonus-point victory. New signing Jimmy Gopperth vindicated his switch, scoring 22 points for the Irish side with four conversions, three penalties and a try.
Ospreys opened their account with a 24-19 win against Treviso in Italy as Wales international Dan Biggar scored two drop goals as well as dissecting the posts another three times to take his tally to 14. Ben John and Scott Baldwin both touched down as Steve Tandy's troops silenced the home crowd at the Stadio di Monigo.
Luke Fitzgerald has been named on the Leinster wing for Saturday's RDS clash after shaking off a groin strain which had curtailed his training this week. The forward pack is boosted by the inclusion of wing-forward Kevin McLaughlin and hooker Richardt Strauss while Mike McCarthy makes his home debut and Mike Ross gets his first run out of the season.
Replacements Tyler Ardron and Jeff Hassler could make their Ospreys debuts if they make it off the bench in Ireland while Dan Biggar retains partnership with Teto Tebaldi in the Welsh region's midfield. Eli Walker and Richard Fussell join Ben John in a formidable Ospreys back three as the Welshmen look to end their run of three successive defeats over the water.
Leinster's 37-19 victory over Ospreys at the RDS in round 22 last term ended a four game losing streak to the Welsh outfit.
Elsewhere on Saturday the Parc y Scarlets plays host as Llanelli Scarlets welcome Italian side Treviso to Wales with both sides needing a win after losing their opening fixtures.
The Welshmen beaten by title holders Leinster and Simon Easterby will hope his side can bounce back in style in front of a home crowd. Rob McCusker did manage to cross the line and Steve Shingler added 14 points but ultimately the Scarlets were outclassed by Leinster in week one.
Similarly Treviso were unable to get off to a winning start as they fell five short of Ospreys in Swansea. Alberto di Bernardo took the initiative from the kicking tee for the Italians and Simone Favaro touched down before Ospreys fly-half Dan Biggar tipped the balance in the hosts' favour from the tee.
British and Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies will be given a warm welcome upon his return to the Scarlets bench while the only change to the starting XV sees Wales Under 20s star Jordan Williams replace the injured Kristian Phillips on the wing.
Meanwhile, there are two changes to the Treviso side as Franco Smith looks for his first win of the 2013/14 campaign. Giovanni Maistri has been drafted into the front row at prop while Lorenzo Cittadini takes the number three jersey for the Italian side. Tobias Botes retain his place at scrum-half and Michele Campagnaro continues to partner young centre Luca Morisi in the midfield.
Scarlets have never started their Pro12 campaign with successive defeats but are currently in the midst of a three-match losing streak, stretching back to last season; while Treviso are looking to avoid back-to-back defeats on Welsh soil.