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Leinster and Ulster Ring the Changes for Belfast Clash

Leinster and Ulster have named a number of changes to their teams for Saturday’s Pro 14 fixture



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Leinster and Ulster will send out experimental sides when the two face off in their inter-provincial match at the Kingspan Stadium at 17 15.

Both teams are already guaranteed of a play-off spot and are allowing players a chance to play before the big games in what is the final regular season match.

Jack McGrath, Byran Byrne and Michael Bent all start in the front-row for Leinster. McGrath will be looking to impress ahead of his summer move to Ulster and force his way into Leo Cullen’s thoughts for a spot in the squad for the final fixtures of the season.

Josh Murphy is joined by debutant Oisin Dowling in the engine room, with Max Deegan, Will Conors and Caelan Doris slotting in behind in the back-row.

Nick McCarthy starts alongside Ross Byrne in the half-backs, with Byrne captaining the side.

Leicester-bound Noel Reid opens the game at inside centre beside Joe Tomane at outside-centre. The experienced duo of Dave Kearney and Fergus McFadden begin on the wings, with Jimmy O’Brien at 15. There is power on the bench for the visiting side with the likes of Peter Dooley, Scott Penny, Ciaran Frawley and Barry Daly among the subs.

Ulster have changed their entire XV that saw off Edinburgh a couple of week’s ago.

Andy Warwick, John Andrew and Ross Kane are picked to lead from the front, with Ian Nagle and Alan O’Connor coming in to occupy the lock positions.

Matty Rea, Clive Ross and Sean Reidy are at six, seven and eight respectively to finish the pack.

Dave Shanahan and Johnny McPhillips begin the game at scrum-half and out-half, while Peter Nelson partners Darren Cave who captains the side before his retirement in the summer.

Angus Kernohan and David Busby are on the left and right wings, as Michael Lowry comes in at full-back.

Nick Timoney and Rob Lyttle are the only two players that retain places in the squad from the Edinburgh win and are named among an otherwise inexperienced bench.

Ulster will be looking to build momentum before next weeks quarter-final showdown with rivals Connacht having already secured second-place in Conference B. On the other hand, Leinster have been able to rest the majority players that defeated Toulouse in the Champions Cup last weekend as they have an eye on retaining their Pro 14 and Champions Cup crowns.

Check out the highlights below from the last Pro14 Fixture between Ulster & Leinster back in Round 13:

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.



(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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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