Leinster and Scarlets renew their rivalry in Saturday’s final

Every country from the NatWest 6 Nations has named their squads for the summer tours but the domestic season is not over yet.

Every country from the NatWest 6 Nations has named their squads for the summer tours but the domestic season is not over yet.

And the final weekend sees all eyes turn to Dublin for the Guinness PRO14 final where Leinster and Scarlets renew their fierce rivalry.

As both sides form the backbone of the Ireland and Wales teams respectively, there are mouthwatering match-ups all over the field.

And there is history at stake as well, Scarlets looking to become the first Welsh team to claim back to back league crowns while Leinster are looking to complete their first-ever domestic and European double.   FAMILIAR FOES   Leinster and Scarlets have already clashed three times this season – with Leinster emerging victorious twice and one draw.

The most recent of those came in the Aviva Stadium last month in the European Champions Cup semi-final when Leinster proved far too strong in a 38-15 victory.

Throw in Ireland’s win over Wales in the NatWest 6 Nations here – with a huge number of Leinster and Scarlets players involved and the Irish dominance continues.

But the Scarlets return to Dublin with confidence renewed, they have won four in a row and destroyed Glasgow Warriors in the semi-final at Scotstoun.

Throw in the fact that they came to Dublin last year at this stage and beat Leinster in the RDS in the semis and then Munster in the final and Wayne Pivac’s side have much cause for optimism.   HADLEIGH’S A HERO   Wales centre Hadleigh Parkes will make his 100th appearance for the region when he starts in midfield this weekend.

The Scarlets also welcome back British & Irish Lion Leigh Halfpenny at full-back for the clash in Dublin.

Tadhg Beirne – formerly of Leinster and this week named in the Ireland squad to tour Australia – will also start in his final game for his adopted region.

The Irishman will return to Ireland with Munster next season, but this week he shifts from lock to No.8 in the absence of the injured John Barclay.   LEINSTER LOCKED AND LOADED   But the Scarlets pack will have their work cut out for them against a Leo Cullen-drilled pack that have conquered Europe already this season.

James Ryan remains unbeaten in his professional career and the Grand Slam winner packs down in a settled front five that includes fellow international stars Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong and Devin Toner.

In the back row Jack Conan starts at No.8 in favour of Ulster-bound Jordi Murphy while Dan Leavy is fit to return with Rhys Ruddock on the blindside.

Jonathan Sexton – who missed the semi-final win over Munster – returns at No.10 for a fascinating personal duel with Rhys Patchell.

And Leinster are also boosted by the return of Rob Kearney at full-back.   ATTACK FROM DEEP   Scarlets’ offloading, all-court attacking game was cut off at source the last time these two sides met.

A swarming Leinster defence shut them down and opened up a healthy lead that they never looked like relinquishing.

But after a long season, it is Scarlets who enter the final as the in-form side and with the booming right boot of Patchell and a pack that stood up well at Scotstoun, PIvac’s side can alter their approach this time around.

Leinster have become a winning machine this season though, and in their second home of the Aviva Stadium will take some stopping. Expect fireworks to fly on Saturday evening.