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Cullen Makes Changes for Zebre Trip

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made a few changes to his starting line-up for his side’s game with Zebre this weekend



(Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has announced his squad for his side’s PRO14 match against Zebre at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi at 18 15 tomorrow.

The biggest change to the team is the inclusion of Cian Kelleher, who makes his first start for the boys in blue since his return to the club after a spell with Connacht. Kelleher comes in on the left-wing, while Adam Byrne comes in on the right. 

While in the pack James Tracy and Ross Molony are noticeable inclusions. 

Tracy is joined in the front-row by Peter Dooley and Michael Bent, while Molony links up with captain Scott Fardy in the second-row. 

Josh Murphy starts at blindside-flanker, with Scott Penny at openside, while Max Deegan is set to win his 50th cap for the province when he lines-up at No 8. 

Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne continue their half-back partnership after an impressive start to the season, with Byrne making his 75th appearance, while Joe Tomane and Rory O’Loughlin once again line-up outside them in the centre following an equally impressive start to the campaign. 

As mentioned above Kelleher opens on the left-wing, with Adam Byrne on the right, while Hugo Keenan remains at full-back. 

On the bench Bryan Byrne and Ryan Baird are in line to make their first involvements of the season. 

Speaking ahead of the game Cullen noted that despite players coming back from the World Cup, his objective was trying to get through this game following a week off and heading into a gruelling set of fixtures. 

“For us this week it’s just trying to prepare as much as we possibly can and get back into performance mode,” he said. 

Leinster are hoping to continue their perfect start to the season when they head to Italy having claimed three bonus-point wins from three so far this season. While for some of the younger players in the squad this is another chance to stake a claim for a spot among the first team even as bigger name players make their way back. 

 Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

Starting XV:

15. Hugo Keenan (8)

14. Adam Byrne (53)

13. Rory O’Loughlin (64)

12. Joe Tomane (16)

11. Cian Kelleher (7)

10. Ross Byrne (74)

9. Jamison Gibson-Park (73)

1. Peter Dooley (64)

2. James Tracy (95)

3. Michael Bent (127)

4. Ross Molony (85)

5. Scott Fardy (46) (C)

6. Josh Murphy (24)

7. Scott Penny (7)

8. Max Deegan (49)


16. Bryan Byrne (42)

17. Michael Milne (3)

18. Vakh Abdaladze (10)

19. Ryan Baird (1)

20. Caelan Doris (19)

21. Hugh O’Sullivan (15)

22. Harry Byrne (3)

23. Jimmy O’Brien (9)

6 Nations

Scarlets provide updates on Williams & Owens



(Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

Liam Williams has recovered from a foot injury that has prevented him playing for the Scarlets so far this season. He has been released from the Wales squad to train with the Scarlets ahead of Friday’s Guinness PRO14 clash with Benetton.

Ken Owens has undergone surgery on the shoulder injury he sustained against Glasgow and it is expected he will be unavailable for three to four months.

Josh Macleod has started his rehabilitation for a hamstring injury sustained against Glasgow. He will be targeting a return to play in December.

Scarlets also confirmed that Sam Lousi has been banned for a period of four weeks as a result of his red card in the Guinness PRO14 clash with Glasgow Warriors.

Lousi was shown a red card by referee Frank Murphy (IRFU) under Law 9.13 – a Player must not tackle an opponent early, late, or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling, or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulder even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.

The disciplinary hearing was handled by Roddy Dunlop (Scotland) and it was accepted that the player’s actions warranted a red card for foul play. The incident was deemed a mid-range offence, which carries a six-week suspension.

Due to the player’s previous disciplinary record (red card for punching incident, February 2020) the judicial officer could not offer full mitigation therefore, resulting in a four-week suspension.

Lousi is free to resume playing from midnight on November 9, 2020

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Marcus Rea to start for Ulster v Ospreys



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Marcus Rea will make his first start for Ulster on Saturday evening, in the Guinness PRO14 Round 2 trip to play Ospreys at Liberty Stadium (kick-off 5.15pm). 

The 23-year-old – who was Player of the Match in his sole previous Ulster appearance as a replacement against Leinster in April 2019 – has been named at openside flanker. Marcus’s older brother Matty – Player of the Match in last weekend’s bonus point win over Benetton – is named alongside him at blindside, with Marcell Coetzee once again packing down at number eight. 

Jack McGrath, Rob Herring and Marty Moore have been given the front row starting berths, and Alan O’Connor has been selected along with captain Iain Henderson in the second row. 

Matt Faddes returns to the starting side on the right wing and will join Jacob Stockdale at full-back and Rob Lyttle on the left wing. Last week’s midfield duo of Stewart Moore and James Hume has been retained. Ian Madigan comes in to start at fly-half, pairing with John Cooney at scrum-half. 

The coaching team has opted for a 6-2 bench split. Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Gareth Milasinovich, Kieran Treadwell, Greg Jones and Sean Reidy provide the forward options, with David Shanahan and Louis Ludik offering back line cover.  

Ulster team to play Ospreys Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 2, Saturday 10 October 2020, at Liberty Stadium (kick-off 5.15pm, live on Premier Sports):   

(15-9) Jacob Stockdale, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Rob Lyttle, Ian Madigan, John Cooney.  (1-8) Jack McGrath, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.) , Matthew Rea, Marcus Rea, Marcell Coetzee.  Replacements: Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Gareth Milasinovich, Kieran Treadwell, Greg Jones, David Shanahan, Louis Ludik, Sean Reidy. 

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Munster confirm COVID-19 case. Training suspended.



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Munster Rugby have been assisting a senior player who has tested positive for Covid-19.

The latest PCR testing carried out on Monday at the HPC has returned a positive result for a player who is asymptomatic. To remove any doubt of a potential false positive the player will be retested tomorrow.
The individual, who was not part of the travelling group at the weekend, and six other players identified by Munster Rugby as potential close contacts, are currently self-isolating.

This approach of identifying possible close contacts is in line with the caution we have taken to this issue, these players may not be deemed close contacts by the HSE.

As a precautionary measure, the squad and academy will not train at the HPC today.
The HSE have been notified for contract tracing purposes.

Further PCR testing will take place tomorrow at the HPC with a return to scheduled training planned for Thursday ahead of Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 encounter against Edinburgh at Thomond Park.

Munster Rugby Head of Medical, Dr Jamie Kearns, said: “As an immediacy we are taking every precaution by standing down training today.

“We are going to complete another round of PCR testing tomorrow so that we can return to training on Thursday.

“Our priority is to ensure the health and safety of our players and staff, and we will continue to work closely with both the IRFU and HSE in this regard.”

Statement from Munster Rugby

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