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Leinster vs Munster Preview; Leinster Make Changes While Stars Return for Munster

Leinster have made some changes to the side that faced Saracens in the Champions Cup Final, while Munster have welcomed back a couple of key men

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(Photo By Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster and Munster have made some changes to their sides ahead of their Pro 14 semi-final in the RDS on Saturday at 14 30.

There is a massive boost for the home side with the return of Josh van der Flier who slots straight into the starting XV, while Johnny Sexton takes a place on the bench with Ross Byrne opens at fly-half.

On the other hand, Munster welcome back Keith Earls and Joey Carbery into their 15.

Leinster start with Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Tadhg Furlong in the front-row, with Devin Toner and James Ryan in the engine room in what is the same front-five that started last Saturday.

Rhys Ruddock captains the side from blindside flanker with Scott Fardy switching to the bench, while van der Flier makes his return from injury on the openside, while Jack Conan retains his place at No 8.

Luke McGrath partners Byrne in the half-backs, with Irish centre duo Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose opening at 12 and 13 respectively.

Powerhouse James Lowe continues on the left-wing, with Dave Kearney on the right and Jordan Larmour at full-back.

There is plenty to call upon on the bench with Andrew Porter and Rory O’Loughlin among those joining Fardy and Sexton amongst the replacements.

Full-back Larmour has called upon his side to repay their fans with a big performance on Saturday.

“We want to give something back to the supporters this weekend,” he said.

Munster also have an Irish trio up front with Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and John Ryan starting, with Jean Kleyn and Tadhg Beirne slotting in behind in the second-row.

Peter O’Mahony captains the men in red from six, with Arno Botha at seven, and CJ Stander finishing up the pack at eight.

Conor Murray opens the game at scrum-half with the returning Carbery alongside him at fly-half, with Rory Scannell at inside-centre and Chris Farrell at out-side centre.

Earls also returns to take up his place on the left-wing, with Andrew Conway on the opposite wing and Mike Haley at 15.

There is strength on the bench too for the visitors with Stephen Archer, Billy Holland, Alby Mathewson and JJ Hanrahan among those ready to impact the game if they get a chance.

Former Leinster star Joey Carbery is looking forward to facing his old side and is excited about the semi-final.

“It’s going to be crazy, it’s going to be a good game,” he said.

This game is a rematch of last seasons semi-final which Leinster won 16-15 and Munster will want to stop their arch-rivals from having the opportunity to win back-to-back Pro 14 titles and this could be as close as last years classic.

The prize for the winner is a trip to Celtic Park next weekend to face either Glasgow Warriors or Ulster who face off on Friday night.

Pro14

Ulster & Leinster names teams for PRO14 Clash

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ulster match-day squad to host Leinster tomorrow night at Kingspan Stadium has been named (kick-off 7.35pm).

Having returned from injury off the bench last Friday against Ospreys, Robert Baloucoune comes into the starting back three, joining Jacob Stockdale on the left wing and Michael Lowry at full-back. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume have retained their starting berths in midfield. John Cooney and Ian Madigan are named at half-back.

In the front row, both Eric O’Sullivan and Tom O’Toole come in to start at loosehead and tighthead prop respectively, with John Andrew retaining his place at hooker. Alan O’Connor and Kieran Treadwell will partner up in the second row. Marcell Coetzee makes his return from injury to start at Number Eight, and is named alongside Nick Timoney and skipper, Jordi Murphy.

Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Marty Moore, Cormac Izuchukwu and Sean Reidy will offer forwards cover on the bench, with Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore and Rob Lyttle providing the back line options. 

Ulster team to play Leinster Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 14, Saturday 6 March at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm, live on Premier Sports): 

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Ian Madigan, John Cooney.

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

Replacements: Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Marty Moore, Cormac Izuchukwu, Sean Reidy, Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore, Rob Lyttle.

Leinster also have announced their team.

Academy back Max O’Reilly starts at full-back for his fifth cap of the season, with try-scorer from last week Cian Kelleher on the right wing and Dave Kearney on the left. Kearney has seven tries in 12 games so far this season.

Rory O’Loughlin starts in the number 12 jersey this week, with Jimmy O’Brien wearing the number 13 outside him.

Captain McGrath is joined this week by Ross Byrne who was released by Andy Farrell to Leinster during the week.

Ed Byrne is another released back to Leinster and he starts at loosehead, with James Tracy at hooker and Michael Bent at tighthead.

Devin Toner and Scott Fardy are the second row combination for Cullen’s side for the second week in a row, as Toner gets ever closer to Gordon D’Arcy’s all-time Leinster caps record of 261.

In the back row, Rhys Ruddock and Josh van der Flier are the final two available to Cullen having been released back to the province and they start at blindside and openside, with Guinness Man of the Match from last week, Scott Penny, completing the starting XV for Leinster Rugby.

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6 Nations

Cian Healy signs short term extension

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Ireland and Leinster loosehead prop Cian Healy has signed a 1 year extension to his IRFU contract up to the end of the 2021/22 season.

Cian is Ireland’s most capped prop forward having lined out for Ireland on 107 occasions to date. He made his Ireland debut against Australia in November 2009 and was selected for the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour of Australia making two appearances before injury ended his involvement.

Cian has won three Six Nations titles with Ireland and represented Leinster on 226 occasions winning four Heineken Cup titles during his career in blue.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Cian has been a cornerstone of both the Irish and Leinster packs for over a decade.  He has shown incredible resilience to come back from serious injury and perform at the highest level.  Cian has a lot to contribute to Irish Rugby and we are delighted that he has signed on for another year.”

Cian Healy, commented,

“My drive for success at both Leinster and Ireland is as strong as ever.  I am lucky enough to currently be part to two teams with the same mentality which is special and I look forward to another season of pushing boundaries and achieving our goals.

I’m loving my rugby as much now as I did at the very start of my career and looking forward to having our supporters back in stadia.”

Article from Irish Rugby

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6 Nations

O’Mahony Signs Contract Extension with IRFU

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Ireland and Munster backrow Peter O’Mahony has signed a two year extension to his IRFU contract keeping him at Munster until 2023.

Peter made his Ireland debut in the Six Nations against Italy in 2012 and has gone on to win 74 caps and captain his country on eight occasions.  A Lions tourist in 2017, Peter captained the Lions in the opening Test of the series against New Zealand.

Peter has represented Munster on 141 occasions becoming captain of his province in 2013 at the age of 24.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Peter has played a leadership role in Munster from an early age and is one of the senior leaders in the national squad.  He is a competitor and passionate about playing for both Ireland and Munster.”

Peter O’Mahony, commented,

“It’s a huge privilege to sign on with the province and country I’ve grown up in and dreamed of playing for. It’s been something I’ve been very open about saying from day one and its very pleasing to be able to continue the journey for two more years.

There’s a huge amount of responsibility that comes with representing both teams and I understand how much pressure there is to deliver silverware, however, I am incredibly enthusiastic on the position and competitiveness of both Munster and Ireland and I look forward to hopefully contributing to both, to succeed in delivering that success on the pitch.”

Irish Rugby

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