Only eight of the players that started last weekend’s 40-24 win over Zebre have remained in the XV with Ronan Kelleher set to make his debut at hooker.
Kelleher will be joined by Ed Byrne and Andrew Porter in the front-row with the latter hoping to impress on his time away from the Irish squad.
Ross Molony captains the side from the second-row and is partnered by Mick Kearney.
The back-row is unchanged from last weekend with Josh Murphy, Max Deegan and Caelan Doris all getting the nod after strong performances.
Hugh O’Sullivan comes in at scrum-half to replace Jamison Gibson-Park, who is out of the squad completely. O’Sullivan is paired with Ross Byrne in the half-backs.
Noel Reid starts at inside centre with Conor O’Brien moving to outside centre as Rory O’Loughlin drops to the bench having started last time out.
In the back three there is a much-welcomed return to action for Fergus McFadden, who has been side-lined since October with an injury. While James Lowe’s return to the left-wing means Barry Daly shifts to full-back.
Even with a number of player’s on international duty the Blues bench still brims of experience with the likes of James Tracy, Peter Dooley, Michael Bent, Scott Fardy and Rory O’Loughlin to call upon if needed.
Caelan Doris who will make his 11th appearance on Friday has told the media how he is looking forward to another run out in front of the home fans but is expecting a hard game.
“Another tough physical game, it will be nice to be back in the RDS on Friday, but the Kings, we saw how dangerous they can be when we were over there. Big tough pack, and a very speedy back-three in particular,” he said.
Speaking ahead of the game Kings head coach Deon Davids, who saw his side lose 43-0 to Munster last weekend, has called on his players to respond.
“The players know clearly where they stand and in what areas of their game, we seek improvements. It was encouraging to see a good start against Munster – we were quite physical and created a lot of momentum, however we were also our own enemy by giving the momentum away at crucial times,” he said.
Many will be expecting Leinster to gain another bonus-point here and continue their dominance at the top of Conference A. However, the Kings who need every point they can get will be hoping to cause an upset and win their first ever Pro14 away match in the process.
Whoever comes out on top will be one step closer to their goal at either end of the table.
Ulster Youngster commits for 3 Years.
Rob Lyttle signs 3-year contract extension
Ulster Rugby wing, Rob Lyttle, has committed his future to the province for a further three years, keeping him at Kingspan Stadium until at least 2023.
The Donaghcloney native played mini rugby at Dromore RFC before attending RBAI, where he featured in the 2013 Danske Bank Schools’ Cup Final as a 5th year.
A product of the Abbey Insurance Ulster Rugby Academy, Rob made a memorable Ulster senior debut in September 2016 with two tries against Dragons, and has developed a knack for finding the try line ever since, touching down 11 times in his 27 appearances to date.
Commenting on the contract extension, Ulster Head Coach, Dan McFarland, said, “It is great news for the club and our supporters that Rob has become the latest young talent to commit his future to Ulster.
“Rob is another great example of a home grown player who has been developed through the club and schools system in Ulster, before refining his game through our performance pathway and going on to represent the club with distinction at professional level.
“The back three is an area where we have a good mix of seasoned experience and exciting young prospects, so I’m looking forward to watching Rob continue to develop his game and also drive the standards of those around him in challenging for places.”
Lyttle said of the deal,
“I have grown up supporting Ulster, and I have relished the opportunity to represent my home province, so it was an easy decision for me to commit my future here. I believe Ulster are building something special and I’m really excited about playing a part in the club’s future.”
Press Release from Ulster Rugby
Leinster Smash Connacht for Another Win
Leinster have continued their winning start to the season with another fantastic performance, this time away to Connacht
A brace of tries from front-rowers Andrew Porter and Ronan Kelleher along with a scores from Ross Byrne and James Lowe saw the reigning champions ease to victory over their western rivals.
The hosts got off to the perfect start, taking the lead four minutes in as returning Irish international Jack Carty knocked over a penalty to make it 3-0.
However, their lead was short lived as one of Leinster’s returning stars Porter barrelled over from close range to put the boys in blue ahead. Byrne made no mistake adding the extras to make it 7-3.
Just before the quarter-hour mark and the away side were further ahead as they camped in the Connacht 22 before hooker Kelleher finished off some great work from a line-out. Byrne slotted over the conversion to push Leinster 14-3 ahead.
Connacht cut into the lead straight after the restart through the boot of Darragh Leader who kicked their second penalty of the game.
Although their fight-back was shut down right away by Leinster, who again showed their forward power as Kelleher went over with the help of captain Scott Fardy for his second try of the night off another line-out. Byrne made it three from three from the tee to extend the lead once again.
It took only another ten minutes for Leinster to secure the bonus-point as Porter went over for his second try of the game after a TMO check. Byrne knocked over another two-points to give Leinster a 28-6 advantage at the half-hour mark.
On 34 minutes things got even better for the eastern province as Byrne added to his personal tally with a lovely five-pointer of his own, slicing through the defence with a fake-pass before touching down. He converted his own try to stretch the score out to 35-6, which is how it stayed come the half-time whistle.
Both teams came out of the blocks quickly in the second period but it was Connacht who struck first as Carty sent a cross-field kick over to Stephen Fitzgerald on the left-wing and the winger did the rest, racing over for his side’s first try of the game. Carty couldn’t add the extras but it showed great spirit from the hosts.
Leinster put pressure on Connacht over the next 20 minutes, remaining in the opposition 22 for most of it, but they couldn’t find a way over. However, that changed with little over 10 minutes remaining as Lowe intercepted a pass inside his own half and darted to the try-line for his side’s sixth try. Bryne continued his 100% kicking-rate from the tee adding the simple extras in front of the posts.
Connacht tried to get another consolation try but they couldn’t break through a solid Leinster defence as it finished up 42-11.
The win means Leinster remain top of Conference A with 29-points out of a possible 30 at the start of the season, while the loss will be a big disappointment for the hosts who went into the game in good form. Leinster will host Benetton next Saturday in the opening round of this season’s Champions Cup, while Connacht welcome French Top 14 side Montpellier to the Sportsground on the Sunday.
Leinster Player Ratings
Hugo Keenan (7), Adam Byrne (7), Jimmy O’Brien (8), Joe Tomane (7), James Lowe (8), Ross Byrne (9), Luke McGrath (7); Cian Healy (8), Ronan Kelleher (9), Andrew Porter (9), Devin Toner (7), Scott Fardy (7), Josh Murphy (7), Will Connors (8), Max Deegan (8)
Munster v Ulster | Team News
Peter O’Mahony captains Munster with eight of Munster’s Rugby World Cup contingent set to feature at Thomond Park.
Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Jean Kleyn, O’Mahony and CJ Stander all start with Conor Murray among the replacements.
JJ Hanrahan, Alby Mathewson and Chris Cloete keep their places in the side after helping Munster to a bonus-point win away to Cardiff Blues last week as Munster make 12 changes.
Academy winger Liam Coombes makes his second Munster start with Mike Haley and Conway completing the back three.
Mathewson and Hanrahan continue their half-back partnership with Rory Scannell and Farrell in the centres.
James Cronin, Scannell and Ryan pack down in the front row with Kleyn and Billy Holland in the engine room.
O’Mahony, Cloete and Stander are named in the back row.
Munster: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Liam Coombes; JJ Hanrahan, Alby Mathewson; James Cronin, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (C), Chris Cloete, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Jeremy Loughman, Kevin O’Byrne, Stephen Archer, Fineen Wycherley, Jack O’Donoghue, Conor Murray, Tyler Bleyendaal, Arno Botha.
Dan McFarland has switched things up with seven changes from the side that defeated Zebre last Friday, Irish internationals Jacob Stockdale and Jordi Murphy will make their first appearances this season.
In the back three, Matt Faddes switches to full-back and is joined by the returning Stockdale and Rob Lyttle on the left and right wings respectively.
Stuart McCloskey is re-called to join last week’s Man-of-the-Match, Luke Marshall in midfield. Angus Curtis will make his first start for Ulster this season at fly-half and is joined by John Cooney at scrum-half, who made his 50th appearance last time out against Zebre.
Among the four changes in the forwards, Marty Moore returns to make his first start of the season at tighthead, joining Jack McGrath at loosehead and captain Rob Herring to make up an all international front row. Sam Carter comes back in to join Alan O’Connor in the second row.
Joining Murphy will be Sean Reidy at blindside, and Nick Timoney switches to assume the number eight position, completing the back row.
In the replacements, Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell and Matthew Rea will provide forward cover. David Shanahan, Bill Johnston and Robert Baloucoune – who is also set to make his seasonal bow – make up the back-line reinforcements.
Ulster team to play Munster Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 6, Saturday 9 November at Thomond Park (kick-off 5:15pm):
(15-9) Matt Faddes, Rob Lyttle, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Angus Curtis, John Cooney.
(1-8) Jack McGrath, Rob Herring (Capt.), Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Sam Carter, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney.
Replacements: Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Matthew Rea, David Shanahan, Bill Johnston, Robert Baloucoune.
Did you know?
Munster are unbeaten in their last 24 home games in all tournaments
Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU, 28th competition game)Assistant Referees: Rob O’Sullivan (IRFU), Paul Haycock (IRFU)TMO: Simon McDowell (IRFU)
Live on eir sport 1, Premier Sport 2, DAZN, PRO14.tv.
Munster Press Conference:
Champions Cup, Line Ups, Predictions, KO Times & TV Coverage.
Henderson Returns for Bath Game
Leinster Welcome Stars Back for Benetton Clash
The Low-down on Ulster’s New Signings
These are class. All the Irish Rugby Gifs
“Awful, actually terrible” – Fitzgerald blasts one Ireland star.
Pro141 week ago
Ulster Rugby makes a return to BBC Coverage
Top 141 week ago
Cheika’s Montpellier Move Could Happen Soon
Premiership1 week ago
Former All Black Set for Exiles Debut
International2 days ago
Gatland Suspected Wales Player of Doping
International1 week ago
Scottish Rugby Receive World Rugby Punishment
Pro141 week ago
Munster v Ulster | Team News
International6 days ago
Former Ireland Player Questions Springboks RWC Win
Pro141 week ago
Leinster Smash Connacht for Another Win