Scrum-half Charlie Shiel is handed his first home start as Edinburgh Rugby make five changes to their starting XV for tomorrow night’s Guinness PRO14 match against Cardiff Blues at BT Murrayfield (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports
Shiel is selected at half-back alongside a revamped centre pairing that sees George Taylor and James Johnstone named in midfield for the Conference B clash.
The capital club welcome back Scotland internationalists Grant Gilchrist and Jamie Bhatti to the forward pack in the only other alterations to the side that claimed a bonus-point win over Connacht last weekend.
Ahead of the fixture, Head Coach Richard Cockerill, said: “We need to make sure we’re on it. We should be well motivated since we’re on a good run, but we need to make sure we get all the basic things right.
“The weather will be a little bit better than last two weeks, but we need to be really functional and practical in how we play. We just need to go and win the game – do whatever it takes to win.
“I’m not fussy about our style. Substance, physicality and mentality should be 10 out of 10 for us, and we should go out with confidence to make sure we get our performance right.”
An unchanged back-three sees Hoyland continue at fullback with wingers Duhan van der Merwe – a try-scorer in his last five consecutive fixtures – and Eroni Sau once again named on the flanks.
Centres Taylor and Johnstone form all-new midfield pairing, with stand-off Simon Hickey – who contributed 12 points from his boot in last weekend’s win over Connacht – and the aforementioned Shiel combined at half-back.
Prop duo Bhatti and Simon Berghan are released from Scotland’s Guinness Six Nations squad and pack down alongside hooker Mike Willemse in a rotated front-row.
Scotland lock Gilchrist – who skippers the side – links-up with Lewis Carmichael in the second-row, as an unchanged back-row trio sees Nick Haining, Luke Crosbie and Viliame Mata complete the pack.
Cardiff have also made 5 changes to their starting team.
John Mulvihill’s side travel to the Scottish capital looking for back-to-back wins in the Championship, but face a tough prospect against the in-form Conference B leaders.
Summerhill, who has five tries to his name this season, suffered a hamstring injury in the Challenge Cup victory over Calvisano in January.
The wing, who replaces Ryan Edwards as the only change amongst the backline, joins Hallam Amos and Jason Harries in the back three, after the duo starred in Sunday’s bonus point win over Benetton Rugby.
Wing Harries returns to BT Murrayfield to face his former club, having scored two tries in this fixture last season as the Blues claimed a memorable victory at the Scottish capital.
Garyn Smith and Ben Thomas continue their partnership in midfield, as former Edinburgh outside half Jason Tovey links up with Lloyd Williams at half back.
There is a new-look front row, with Brad Thyer, Kristian Dacey and Dmitri Arhip all returning to the starting XV.
Rory Thornton is replaces James Ratti in the second row to combine with Seb Davies, who dotted down in the win over Benetton. An unchanged back row of Shane Lewis-Hughes, Olly Robinson and Josh Turnbull complete the pack.
Head coach John Mulvihill is relishing the challenge ahead and wants to finish the latest block of Guinness PRO14 games with a win before his side head into a three-week interval.
“We can take real confidence from our performance in the second half against Benetton as we travel up to Edinburgh. We were clinical in attack, solid in defence and we’ll need to maintain those standards for the full 80 minutes at Murrayfield.
“We’re fully aware of the challenges ahead against Edinburgh. They’re top of our table and have a lot of quality throughout, even with some big names missing through the Six Nations. They’re top of the table because of the depth they’ve built in that squad.
“We’ve got good form on the road this year, and that was something we spoke about before the season started. We need to pick up points on the road, and we’ve won up in Edinburgh before so we can take confidence from that.
“It’s great to have Aled back. He’s a really good player who gives us a spark and finish on the edge. He’s someone who can step up and keep some international boys out of the team because of his form.
“He’s a really good finisher, he’s quick, good on the high ball and defensively he’s one of our best.”
Another player returning from injury is Kirby Myhill who is named on the bench, and is set to feature for the first time in 2020.
Also included as a replacement is lock Ben Murphy, who could feature for the first time this season, having also impressed when featuring for Merthyr in the Indigo Group Premiership this season.
Ringrose to captain Leinster v Ulster
The Leinster Rugby team, as sponsored by Bank of Ireland, to face Ulster Rugby in the Final of the Guinness PRO14 tomorrow in the Aviva Stadium has been named by Leinster Head Coach Leo Cullen (KO 7.35pm – live on eir Sport, TG4 & RTÉ Radio).
Cullen has made a number of changes from the team that accounted for Munster Rugby in the semi-final with Garry Ringrose named as captain of the senior side for the first time.
The back three is the same that started against Munster last week with Jordan Larmour selected at full back having come through the graduated return to play protocols successfully this week and Hugo Keenan on the right wing and James Lowe on the left.
Robbie Henshaw is again selected at inside centre with captain Ringrose outside him in the number 13 jersey.
Ringrose made his Leinster debut in September 2015 on the wing against Cardiff Blues and tomorrow’s Guinness PRO14 Final will be his 75th appearance in a Leinster jersey. In that time he has scored 25 tries and has 29 Ireland caps to his name.
The half back partnership sees Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne start at nine and 10.
In the pack there is no change in the front row with Cian Healy, Rónan Kelleher and Andrew Porter again selected. In winning his 219th cap, Cian Healy joins Leo Cullen and Rob Kearney as the joint 4th most capped player in Leinster history.
James Ryan has recovered from injury to take his place in the second row alongside Devin Toner.
Finally in the back row, Guinness Player of the Match from last week Caelan Doris is again selected at blindside flanker with Josh van der Flier at openside and finally Jack Conan is selected in the number eight jersey.
Leinster Rugby (caps in brackets):
15. Jordan Larmour (48)
14. Hugo Keenan (16)
13. Garry Ringrose (74) CAPTAIN
12. Robbie Henshaw (46)
11. James Lowe (45)
10. Ross Byrne (87)
9. Jamison Gibson-Park (91)
1. Cian Healy (218)
2. Rónan Kelleher (13)
3.Andrew Porter (64)
4. Devin Toner (247)
5. James Ryan (37)
6. Caelan Doris (31)
7. Josh van der Flier (82)
8. Jack Conan (91)
16. James Tracy (109)
17. Ed Byrne (55)
18. Michael Bent (138)
19. Scott Fardy (60)
20. Will Connors (18)
21. Luke McGrath (125)
22. Johnny Sexton (165)
23. Rory O’Loughlin (69)
Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)
Press Release from Leinster Rugby
Ulster make big changes for Leinster Final
The Ulster men will be boosted by the return of club captain, Iain Henderson, who will be making his first appearance since the season resumption, and is one of four changes to the side that defeated Edinburgh in last week’s thrilling Semi-Final at BT Murrayfield.
Alan O’Connor will partner Henderson in the second row, while the front row of Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring and Tom O’Toole is retained. The back row sees one change, with Sean Reidy coming into the starting line-up at openside flanker. Matthew Rea takes the blindside flanker position and Marcell Coetzee packs down at number eight.
The back three sees two positional switches, with Jacob Stockdale moving to the left wing, while Rob Lyttle swaps over to the right. Joining them at full-back is Michael Lowry, returning to the starting XV. Stuart McCloskey – who, along with John Cooney, was named in the Guinness PRO14 Dream Team earlier this week – continues his midfield partnership with James Hume. All Black scrum-half, Alby Mathewson, will make his first start for Ulster alongside Billy Burns at fly-half.
McFarland has opted for a 6-2 split on the bench where John Andrew, Jack McGrath, Marty Moore, Sam Carter, Jordi Murphy and Nick Timoney will offer the forward backup, and the backline cover is provided by John Cooney and Ian Madigan.
Ulster team to play Leinster Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Final, Aviva Stadium, Saturday 12 September (7.35pm, live on Premier Sports / eir Sport):
(15-9) Michael Lowry, Rob Lyttle, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, Alby Mathewson.
(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.), Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy, Marcell Coetzee.
Replacements (16-23): John Andrew, Jack McGrath, Marty Moore, Sam Carter, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Ian Madigan, Nick Timoney.
Press Release from Ulster Rugby
Leinster ring the changes for Ulster clash
The Leinster Rugby team, as sponsored by Bank of Ireland, to face Ulster Rugby tomorrow in the Aviva Stadium in Round 15 of the Guinness PRO14 has been announced by Head Coach Leo Cullen (KO 7.35pm – live on eir Sport & RTÉ Radio).
Ed Byrne will captain the side for the first time in a competitive fixture, starting in the front row with Irish internationals Seán Cronin and Michael Bent.
Carlow native Byrne made his debut in February 2014 against Zebre and will win his 54th Leinster cap tomorrow when he leads out his province for the first time.
Devin Toner starts in the second row with Ross Molony, while Josh Murphy, Will Connors, and Max Deegan complete the starting pack.
In the backs, Cullen has selected a back three of Rob Kearney, Hugo Keenan, and Cian Kelleher.
Ciarán Frawley and Rory O’Loughlin is the centre partnership, while in the half backs Jamison Gibson-Park wins his 90th cap for Leinster Rugby and is joined by Ross Byrne.
Leinster Rugby Academy player Tom Clarkson is in line to make his senior debut from the bench.
Leinster Rugby (caps in brackets)
15. Rob Kearney (218)
14. Hugo Keenan (14)
13. Rory O’Loughlin (67)
12. Ciarán Frawley (25)
11. Cian Kelleher (14)
10. Ross Byrne (85)
9. Jamison Gibson-Park (89)
1. Ed Byrne (53) CAPTAIN
2. Seán Cronin (182)
3. Michael Bent (136)
4. Devin Toner (245)
5. Ross Molony (95)
6. Josh Murphy (32)
7. Will Connors (16)
8. Max Deegan (63)
16. James Tracy (108)
17. Michael Milne (8)
18. Tom Clarkson (0)
19. Rhys Ruddock (172)
20. Scott Penny (13)
21. Rowan Osborne (4)
22. Harry Byrne (9)
23. Jimmy O’Brien (17)
Referee: George Clancy (IRFU)