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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)


Ulster & Leinster names teams for PRO14 Clash



Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ulster match-day squad to host Leinster tomorrow night at Kingspan Stadium has been named (kick-off 7.35pm).

Having returned from injury off the bench last Friday against Ospreys, Robert Baloucoune comes into the starting back three, joining Jacob Stockdale on the left wing and Michael Lowry at full-back. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume have retained their starting berths in midfield. John Cooney and Ian Madigan are named at half-back.

In the front row, both Eric O’Sullivan and Tom O’Toole come in to start at loosehead and tighthead prop respectively, with John Andrew retaining his place at hooker. Alan O’Connor and Kieran Treadwell will partner up in the second row. Marcell Coetzee makes his return from injury to start at Number Eight, and is named alongside Nick Timoney and skipper, Jordi Murphy.

Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Marty Moore, Cormac Izuchukwu and Sean Reidy will offer forwards cover on the bench, with Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore and Rob Lyttle providing the back line options. 

Ulster team to play Leinster Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 14, Saturday 6 March at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm, live on Premier Sports): 

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Ian Madigan, John Cooney.

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Nick Timoney, Jordi Murphy (Capt.), Marcell Coetzee.

Replacements: Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Marty Moore, Cormac Izuchukwu, Sean Reidy, Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore, Rob Lyttle.

Leinster also have announced their team.

Academy back Max O’Reilly starts at full-back for his fifth cap of the season, with try-scorer from last week Cian Kelleher on the right wing and Dave Kearney on the left. Kearney has seven tries in 12 games so far this season.

Rory O’Loughlin starts in the number 12 jersey this week, with Jimmy O’Brien wearing the number 13 outside him.

Captain McGrath is joined this week by Ross Byrne who was released by Andy Farrell to Leinster during the week.

Ed Byrne is another released back to Leinster and he starts at loosehead, with James Tracy at hooker and Michael Bent at tighthead.

Devin Toner and Scott Fardy are the second row combination for Cullen’s side for the second week in a row, as Toner gets ever closer to Gordon D’Arcy’s all-time Leinster caps record of 261.

In the back row, Rhys Ruddock and Josh van der Flier are the final two available to Cullen having been released back to the province and they start at blindside and openside, with Guinness Man of the Match from last week, Scott Penny, completing the starting XV for Leinster Rugby.

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6 Nations

Cian Healy signs short term extension



Ireland and Leinster loosehead prop Cian Healy has signed a 1 year extension to his IRFU contract up to the end of the 2021/22 season.

Cian is Ireland’s most capped prop forward having lined out for Ireland on 107 occasions to date. He made his Ireland debut against Australia in November 2009 and was selected for the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour of Australia making two appearances before injury ended his involvement.

Cian has won three Six Nations titles with Ireland and represented Leinster on 226 occasions winning four Heineken Cup titles during his career in blue.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Cian has been a cornerstone of both the Irish and Leinster packs for over a decade.  He has shown incredible resilience to come back from serious injury and perform at the highest level.  Cian has a lot to contribute to Irish Rugby and we are delighted that he has signed on for another year.”

Cian Healy, commented,

“My drive for success at both Leinster and Ireland is as strong as ever.  I am lucky enough to currently be part to two teams with the same mentality which is special and I look forward to another season of pushing boundaries and achieving our goals.

I’m loving my rugby as much now as I did at the very start of my career and looking forward to having our supporters back in stadia.”

Article from Irish Rugby

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6 Nations

O’Mahony Signs Contract Extension with IRFU



Ireland and Munster backrow Peter O’Mahony has signed a two year extension to his IRFU contract keeping him at Munster until 2023.

Peter made his Ireland debut in the Six Nations against Italy in 2012 and has gone on to win 74 caps and captain his country on eight occasions.  A Lions tourist in 2017, Peter captained the Lions in the opening Test of the series against New Zealand.

Peter has represented Munster on 141 occasions becoming captain of his province in 2013 at the age of 24.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Peter has played a leadership role in Munster from an early age and is one of the senior leaders in the national squad.  He is a competitor and passionate about playing for both Ireland and Munster.”

Peter O’Mahony, commented,

“It’s a huge privilege to sign on with the province and country I’ve grown up in and dreamed of playing for. It’s been something I’ve been very open about saying from day one and its very pleasing to be able to continue the journey for two more years.

There’s a huge amount of responsibility that comes with representing both teams and I understand how much pressure there is to deliver silverware, however, I am incredibly enthusiastic on the position and competitiveness of both Munster and Ireland and I look forward to hopefully contributing to both, to succeed in delivering that success on the pitch.”

Irish Rugby

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