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Leinster Give Plenty of Players a Chance to Shine Against Treviso

Lots of changes.



Photo By Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Leinster have only retained two players from their starting XV that defeated Ulster last weekend for their clash with Benetton Treviso in the RDS on Saturday at 19 45.

The two players retained are second-row Scott Fardy and scrum-half Luke McGrath, who also captains the side.

Leinster will be looking to stretch their lead at the top of Conference B having already sealed a home semi-final and have decided to switch things up in order to get the job done.

In the front-row Ulster-bound Jack McGrath comes in alongside James Tracy and Andrew Porter, with Mick Kearney pairing up with Fardy behind them in the second-row.

The young trio of Josh Murphy, Max Deegan and Caelan Doris start in the back-row at six, seven and eight respectively.

McGrath continues at nine and is joined in the half-backs by Noel Reid at 10. Joe Tomane and youngster Conor O’Brien begin the game in the centre.

James Lowe returns to the side on the left-wing, with Fergus McFadden on the right and Barry Daly coming in at full-back.

It is a youthful bench as well with the likes of Jack Dunne, Hugh O’Sullivan, Ciaran Frawley and Jimmy O’Brien joining Scott Penny, who makes his first appearance since winning the Grand Slam with the Irish under 20s.

Head coach Leo Cullen has called on his players to use this opportunity to stake a claim for places in the teams that will play in the big games coming up.

“It’s a great chance for guys to lay down a marker and put their hands up and say ‘pick me, pick me for the team’ for the big games. That semi-final in a couple of weeks that everyone wants to play in. That’s the message,” he said.

The Italian side head to the RDS on the back of what has been a sensational season so far and have a host of their national players in the team.

Nicola Quaglio, Luca Bigi and Marco Riccioni make up the front-three, as Irne Herbsy and Federico Ruzza start in the engine room.

There is a strong back-three to finish up the pack with Sebastian Negri, Braam Steyn and Toa Halafihi all set to start.

Dewaldt Duvenage partners Tommaso Allan in the half-backs with Luca Morisi at 12 and Marco Zanon at 13.

Monty Ioane and Iliesa Ratuva on the wings and Jayden Hayward covering the full-back role.

With players like Simone Ferrari and Tito Tebaldi to call on from the reserves, Leinster will have to be wary of the visitors in the closing stages.

As mentioned above Leinster already certain to finish top of Conference B but will want to head into the knock-out stages on a high. While Benetton currently sit third in the conference, three-points ahead of Edinburgh and a win away here could be vital if they are to claim a play-off spot.

6 Nations

Huge boost for Ulster & Ireland as Henderson signs new deal



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Ulster captain, Iain Henderson, who has represented the province on 116 occasions, has secured his future with the club for the next two years.

Craigavon-born Henderson, who took up the role of Ulster captain in 2019, has progressed through the Ulster development system. Starting with mini rugby at Academy RFC, his early playing career saw him reach the final of the Danske Bank Schools Cup in 2010 with Belfast Royal Academy, represent Queen’s University Belfast as well as Ireland at Age-Grade level, before quickly rising through the ranks of senior professional rugby in the province.

Iain, who captained Ireland for the first time against France in this year’s Guinness Six Nations, made his international debut against South Africa in November 2012 and has won 60 caps to date for his country. 

A Lions tourist in 2017, Iain succeeded Rory Best as Ulster captain in 2019.  

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Over the past few seasons Iain has really developed into a leader within both the Ireland and Ulster squads. He is part of the national leadership group, captaining Ireland recently for the first time and we are delighted to have ensured that he continues his career in Ireland.”

Iain Henderson, commented,

“It has been a great honour to captain both Ulster and Ireland in recent times. Irish rugby is in a good place despite the disruption the sport has experienced during the pandemic. As professionals, we have been in a privileged position to be able to continue playing and I know we all hope to see supporters back in the Aviva and Kingspan in the near future.”

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Ulster issue positive update on Coetzee injury



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Many Ulster fans feared they may have seen the last appearance of Springbok Marcell Coetzee in an Ulster shirt after he was helped from the field on Friday night but a medical update has been issued which appears to be more positive than what was initially feared.

Update below:

The Ulster Rugby Medical Performance Team has issued a squad update ahead of Friday’s Guinness PRO14 Round 13 fixture against Ospreys at Kingspan Stadium.

Marcell Coetzee suffered a thigh muscle contusion in Ulster Rugby’s Guinness PRO14 Round 12 match against Glasgow Warriors. His availability for selection for the upcoming game against Ospreys will be assessed through the coming week.

There are no other new injury concerns arising from Friday night’s game at Scotstoun Stadium.

Squad updates in association with The Ulster Independent Clinic.

Update ends.

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Murphy to Captain Ulster against a strong Glasgow team



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Jordi Murphy will captain Ulster for the first time in Friday’s return to Guinness PRO14 action, while the trip to Glasgow will also mark significant milestones for Kieran Treadwell and Marty Moore. 

Murphy will start at openside flanker, alongside fellow loose forwards Nick Timoney and Marcell Coetzee. Treadwell will become the latest Ulster centurion as he is named to start along with Alan O’Connor in the second row. In the front row, Eric O’Sullivan returns from international duty to join John Andrew and Marty Moore, who will make his 50th Ulster appearance. 

In the backs, John Cooney and Stuart McCloskey are also released from Ireland camp and will start in their familiar 9 and 12 jerseys. Ian Madigan will partner Cooney at fly-half, with James Hume joining McCloskey in midfield. Rob Lyttle makes his return from injury on the left wing, with Craig Gilroy on the right and Michael Lowry at full-back.  

Academy second row, Cormac Izuchukwu is set to make his senior debut if called upon from the bench. He is named alongside Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole – also returning from international duties – and Greg Jones in the forward reinforcements. Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore and Matt Faddes will provide back line cover.  

Ulster team to play Glasgow Warriors, Guinness PRO14 Round 12, Friday 19 February at Scotstoun Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm, live on Premier Sports / eir Sport): 

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Craig Gilroy, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Rob Lyttle, Ian Madigan, John Cooney; 

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

Replacements: Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Cormac Izuchukwu, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore, Matt Faddes.

Glasgow Warriors have named a strong lineup with lots of Scottish caps and releases and a welcome return for mercurial Out-Half, Adam Hastings.

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