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Byrne Returns for Leinster’s Munster Clash

Leinster have confirmed their squad to travel to Munster in the PRO14 this weekend and fly-half Ross Byrne is one of a number of changes to the side



(Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made a number of changes to his squad for tomorrow’s game against rivals Munster at Thomond Park at 18 00.

Top of the list is the return of fly-half Ross Byrne, who comes back into the team after missing last weekend’s thrilling 54-42 win over Ulster with an injury, but he makes a welcome comeback and takes the 10 jersey from younger brother Harry. 

While fellow Irish international Robbie Henshaw drops out of the team and is replaced by Jimmy O’Brien in the centre. 

Elsewhere in the pack Ed Byrne and Andrew Porter start either side of hooker James Tracy in the front-row, with Devin Toner partnering captain Scott Fardy in the engine-room. 

Josh Murphy moves from the second-row to blindside-flanker, with Will Connors at openside and Caelan Doris completes the forwards from No 8. 

Jamison Gibson-Park joins Ross Byrne in the half-back pairing, while Conor O’Brien and Jimmy O’Brien are the midfield duo. 

James Lowe takes up a place on the left-wing, with Adam Byrne coming back in to begin on the right, with Hugo Keenan finishing up the starting line-up from full-back. 

On the bench there is a mix of youth and experience with the likes of Sean Cronin and Ross Molony joined by Jack Aungier and Tommy O’Brien, who made his debut last week. 

Speaking ahead of the game full-back Keenan has ensured fans that the team have learned from last year’s loss in Limerick and wants to put things right this time around. 

“We have to take lessons from last year’s loss,” he said. 

Leinster will be hoping to continue their perfect winning start to the season when they take on their biggest rivals tomorrow, but Munster will want to put a first loss on Leinster’s season and the away side will need to be at their best to make it 13 from 13. 

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

Starting XV:

15. Hugo Keenan (11)

14. Adam Byrne (56)

13. Jimmy O’Brien (13)

12. Conor O’Brien (21)

11. James Lowe (38)

10. Ross Byrne (81)

9. Jamison Gibson-Park (82)

1. Ed Byrne (50)

2. James Tracy (103)

3. Andrew Porter (59)

4. Devin Toner (241)

5. Scott Fardy (53) (c)

6. Josh Murphy (29)

7. Will Connors (11)

8. Caelan Doris (25)


16. Seán Cronin (174)

17. Peter Dooley (69)

18. Jack Aungier (2)

19. Ross Molony (89)

20. Scott Penny (10)

21. Rowan Osborne (2)

22. Ciarán Frawley (18)

23. Tommy O’Brien (1)


Munster confirm Zebo signing



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Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to announce that Simon Zebo has signed a one-year contract to return to play with the province for the 2021/22 season.

This co-funded contract will see Munster’s all-time record try-scorer return from Racing 92 and line out for his home club where he made 144 appearances and scored 60 tries between 2010 and 2018.

In his third season with the Top 14 side, the 31-year-old has played 55 times and scored 21 tries to date.

Head Coach Johann van Graan said, “The opportunity to bring Simon back to Munster came about in early April following a final review of our squad’s budgetary position for season-end and with assistance from the IRFU to support what we believe is a really good deal for Munster and Irish Rugby.

“Simon’s desire to return to Ireland and play with his home club is illustrated by his willingness to sign at a level below his market value elsewhere. This has made bringing the province’s all-time leading try-scorer back home, possible.”

Simon Zebo said, “I am thrilled and honoured to be coming back home to play for Munster. My family and I have been so lucky to have enjoyed three incredible years with Racing 92 in Paris and I cannot thank the team there enough, I really have made friends for life and take with me some brilliant memories.

“However, as everyone knows, Munster holds a very special place in my heart and I’ve always said that I wanted to play for them and potentially Ireland again, so when this opportunity arose the lure of being close to home, family and friends and Munster fans, it outweighed all other options. I cannot wait to get back to the HPC with the team and hopefully a packed Thomond Park.”

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Ulster Rugby agree to release Coetzee early



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Marcell Coetzee has played his last game for Ulster Rugby.

With back-row, Marcell Coetzee, currently side-lined with a hamstring injury, Ulster Rugby has agreed terms which will see the player released from the club at the end of this month, ahead of his planned departure at the conclusion of the 2020/21 season.

Given the need for several weeks of rehabilitation following the injury sustained by Coetzee in last month’s Guinness PRO14 fixture against Leinster, Ulster Rugby and the player have reached a mutual agreement to part ways on Friday 30 April.

Head of Rugby Operations and Recruitment, Bryn Cunningham, said: “We have come to an agreement that will allow Marcell the time and space required to continue his rehab.

“I’d like to thank Marcell for his contribution to the province over the past five years and we wish him and wife, Chanelle the very best for their upcoming return home to South Africa.”

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Lowry retained at 10 for Ulster v Zebre



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The Ulster coaching team has named the match-day squad to host Zebre in tomorrow night’s final Guinness PRO14 regular season game (Kingspan Stadium, 8.15pm).

21-year-old, Cormac Izuchukwu will make his first start for the Ulster men as he is named in the second row alongside Kieran Treadwell. Marty Moore comes back into the starting front row at tighthead, with Eric O’Sullivan and John Andrew retaining their starting berths at loosehead and hooker. Jordi Murphy will captain the side at openside flanker, with Sean Reidy and David McCann being retained at blindside and Number Eight.

A youthful back line sees Ethan McIlroy coming into the  back three at full-back, with Rob Lyttle on the left wing and Robert Baloucoune returning on the right. Stewart Moore and James Hume will make up the midfield pairing, while John Cooney and Michael Lowry are named at half-back.

Brad Roberts, Callum Reid, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor and Matty Rea are the forward reinforcements, with David Shanahan, Ian Madigan and Ben Moxham providing the back line options on the bench.

Ulster team to play Zebre Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 16, Friday 19 March at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 8.15pm, live on Premier Sports / eir Sport):

(15-9) Ethan McIlroy, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Rob Lyttle, Michael Lowry, John Cooney;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew, Marty Moore, Cormac Izuchukwu, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Jordy Murphy (Capt.), David McCann.

Replacements: Brad Roberts, Callum Reid, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Matty Rea, David Shanahan, Ian Madigan, Ben Moxham.

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