Following last weekend’s victory of the Cheetahs Cullen has made three changes to the pack and a further five in the backs as the team go in search of a 12th win in a row in the competition.
In the front-row James Tracy comes in to replace Ronan Kelleher at hooker and has Peter Dooley and Michael Bent either side of him, while Ross Molony joins captain Scott Fardy in the second-row.
Josh Murphy comes in at blindside-flanker, with Scott Penny handed a start on the openside, as Rhys Ruddock shifts from the flank to No 8.
Jamison Gibson-Park takes the place of Luke McGrath to link-up with Ciaran Frawley in the half-backs, with Conor O’Brien being handed the inside-centre role as Jimmy O’Brien continues at outside-centre.
It’s a whole new back-three with James Lowe returning to the left-wing, as Cian Kelleher takes his place on the right and Hugo Keenan completes the starting XV from full-back.
On the bench there are a number of young players with the likes of Michael Milne, Ryan Baird, Rowan Osborne and Harry Byrne among the replacements.
Speaking ahead of the game full-back Keenan has warned his side that that they must be wary of the Ospreys despite their poor start to the season as they will be confident following a rare win last weekend.
“Ospreys are coming off a great win against Ulster there so their tails are up, so it will be a big challenge,” he said.
Leinster head into the game looking to extend their winning streak so far this season to 18 matches, but the Ospreys will be out to cause an upset and the boys in blue will be well aware that they will have to be at their best once again to pick up another victory.
Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.
15. Hugo Keenan (12)
14. Cian Kelleher (13)
13. Jimmy O’Brien (15)
12. Conor O’Brien (22)
11. James Lowe (41)
10. Ciarán Frawley (23)
9. Jamison Gibson-Park (86)
1. Peter Dooley (74)
2. James Tracy (106)
3. Michael Bent (133)
4. Ross Molony (94)
5. Scott Fardy (56) (c)
6. Josh Murphy (30)
7. Scott Penny (12)
8. Rhys Ruddock (170)
16. Seán Cronin (179)
17. Michael Milne (6)
18. Jack Aungier (3)
19. Jack Dunne (5)
20. Ryan Baird (5)
21. Rowan Osborne (3)
22. Harry Byrne (7)
23. Tommy O’Brien (2)
Ospreys to help set up ‘field hospital’
The Ospreys training base at Llandarcy Academy of Sport is to be transformed into a field hospital in a bid to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Work has already started at Llandarcy (which is part of NPTC Group of Colleges) and will be completed in the next three to four weeks.
The beds would be used for COVID-19 patients and other patients who need medical care, but they will be nursed in separate areas.
“The Ospreys have always been rooted in the community and region and we were happy to help in any way to ease the pressure on the NHS and to assist in dealing with coronavirus,” said Andrew Millward, Ospreys managing director.
“Allowing our training base at Llandarcy to be used in this way is the least we could do as we all come to terms with dealing with this virus at this time.”
There are no plans to provide any intensive care beds in Llandarcy as most seriously ill patients will be treated and cared for in the main hospitals in the region.
The College which runs the Llandarcy Academy of Sport has offered its premises for use as a field hospital with 340 hospital beds available for use.
The public, health and private sector, along with further education, are working closely together in an unprecedented response aimed at safeguarding the health and wellbeing of people living in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.
Llandarcy Academy of Sport is normally used by thousands of students as well as keep fit enthusiasts. The Ospreys also use the state-of-the-art facilities as their training ground.
Mark Dacey, CEO and Principal of NPTC Group of Colleges said the College would do everything it could to help in the current situation.
“These are difficult times for everyone,” said Dacey.
“We all need to pull together and do whatever we can to help tackle the ongoing COVID-19 emergency that we are all caught up in. The College will do whatever it can to help support our communities and its people during this very difficult time.”
Wyn Evans, Managing Director of the facility thanked everyone involved for coming together and backing the move to provide a field hospital on the site.
“Our users, which include the Ospreys, Swansea Ladies Football, members and lots more are fully supportive. It’s a challenging time for everyone, but we all realise measures have to be taken in order for this situation to be over as quickly as possible,” said Evans.
Tracy Myhill, Chief Executive of Swansea Bay University Health Board, paid tribute to the Ospreys for the willingness to allow Llandarcy to be used at this time and said she was “grateful and proud’” of how communities have come together.
Stadiums, leisure centres and a holiday park are being converted into field hospitals across Wales to help with the response to the outbreak of coronavirus.
The Welsh Rugby Union have already confirmed both Principality Stadium and the National Centre of Excellence in the Vale of Glamorgan will be used as emergency venues to help with treating coronavirus.
Courtesy of Welsh Rugby
Rodney Parade to help in fight against coronavirus
Rodney Parade has become the latest sporting venue to open its doors to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
The Newport stadium has been provided free of charge as a base for front-line NHS staff to check if they have the virus and are able to continue working. At this stage only NHS staff are eligible to be tested at Rodney Parade to see if they have COVID-19. Dragons managing director Mark Jones said: “The health service and care workers are doing an incredible job in such difficult circumstances so we are happy to offer our help and support in any way we can.
“Playing our part in the local community is at the heart of what we’re about at the Dragons and in times of crisis people stick together. We would urge everyone to follow the latest NHS advice on protecting themselves from the virus, particularly to stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel.”
A statement from Aneurin Bevan Health Board read: “The health and wellbeing of our staff is essential for delivering services for the people of Gwent. It is fundamental during this time when the most vulnerable people need us most.
“We have set up a drive-through facility to test staff for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and help us get our teams back in to work on the front line. The testing site is located at Rodney Parade in Newport and we ask that everyone practises the stay-at-home guidance and does not visit the site.
“Everyone at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board would like to thank the team at Rodney Parade for their community-focused approach and accommodating us during these difficult times.”
Ulster Star Commits Future to Province
Ulster have announced that one of their key men has signed a contract extension with the northern province
The 30-year-old has put pen to paper on a two-year deal that will see him remain with the province until 2022.
Having joined Ulster from Leinster before this season McGrath is delighted to have his future sorted.
“On arriving at Ulster, I was welcomed with open arms and I have very much settled here since joining at the start of this season. It’s a fantastic set-up in terms of the players, coaches and support staff that I get to work alongside every day – and I look forward to what the future holds for the province over the course of the next two years,” he said.
The 56-cap Ireland international and a British and Irish Lion McGrath has a huge amount of experience behind him and head coach Dan McFarland thinks he has a big role to play in the future of the province.
“Jack’s reliably strong performances and vast international experience make him a great asset to Ulster – so I’m delighted that he is chosen to continue his career here with us. By renewing the contracts of players such as Jack, we are continuing to strengthen our squad now, and also into the future, given the important leadership he provides for our young talent starting out in their careers. I’m confident that Jack will play an important role in Ulster’s successes in the years ahead,” he said.
It is a huge boost for Ulster to have his services to rely upon over the coming seasons as they look to continue to build on their brilliant season to date.