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Pro14

Leinster’s Internationals Back for Connacht Clash

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has been able to bring back some of his Irish internationals to his squad for their game against Connacht this weekend

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(Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has brought in six Irish internationals to his squad for his side’s first inter-provincial derby in the PRO14 against Connacht at the Showgrounds tomorrow at 19 35.

Having started the season perfectly the stars will need to come back in seamlessly as the younger players have been hugely impressive in their absence. 

Robbie Henshaw, Luke McGrath, Cian Healy and Andrew Porter have all come straight into the starting line-up, while Rhys Ruddock and Rob Kearney take up places on the bench. 

With that in mind it means that Healy and Porter join Ronan Kelleher in the front-row, with Devin Toner and captain Scott Fardy once again in the second-row. 

Josh Murphy is at blindside-flanker, with Will Connors at openside and Max Deegan completes the pack from No 8. 

McGrath links up with Ross Byrne in the half-backs, with Byrne having watched younger brother Harry star last weekend during their win over the Dragons, while Joe Tomane is joined by Henshaw in the midfield pairing. 

James Lowe remains on the left-wing, with Adam Bryne taking over from Dave Kearney on the right, while Hugo Keenan returns from an ankle injury to come back in at full-back. 

There is a huge amount of experience on the bench for the reigning back to back champions with the likes of Michael Bent and Jamison Gibson-Park joining Ruddock and Kearney among the replacements. 

Leinster are looking to make it six wins from six at the start of the new PRO14 season with victory on Friday night as they attempt to extend their lead at the top of Conference A, while for Connacht they have a chance to go top of Conference B for at least 24 hours if they claim the win. 

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

Starting XV:

15. Hugo Keenan (9)

14. Adam Byrne (54)

13. Robbie Henshaw (37)

12. Joe Tomane (17)

11. James Lowe (33)

10. Ross Byrne (75)

9. Luke McGrath (113)

1. Cian Healy (208)

2. Rónan Kelleher (6)

3. Andrew Porter (53)

4. Devin Toner (235)

5. Scott Fardy (47) (C)

6. Josh Murphy (25)

7. Will Connors (8)

8. Max Deegan (51)

Replacements:

16. James Tracy (97)

17. Ed Byrne (45)

18. Michael Bent (129)

19. Ross Molony (87)

20. Rhys Ruddock (161)

21. Jamison Gibson-Park (75)

22. Ciarán Frawley (15)

23. Rob Kearney (210)

Pro14

Joey Carbery set for return this weekend for Munster

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(Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Munster team has been named for Friday night’s Guinness PRO14 clash against Cardiff Blues at the Cardiff Arms Park (8pm).

There are six changes to the starting XV that defeated Edinburgh last time out, while in the replacements there is the welcome return of Joey Carbery who is named in his first match-day squad since January 2020.

The opening try scorer in Murrayfield last weekend, Jack O’Donoghue captains the side for Friday night’s encounter as he and Chris Cloete are joined by Jack O’Sullivan in the back row.

Fineen Wycherley scrums down next to Jean Kleyn in the engine room with Kevin O’Byrne stepping into the front row in between James Cronin and John Ryan.

Shane Daly returns from Ireland camp to retain his position on the left wing with Calvin Nash named on the opposite flank as Mike Haley completes the back three at full-back.

The centre partnership sees Rory Scannell lining up next to Damian de Allende and Nick McCarthy joins JJ Hanrahan in the half-back pairing.

If sprung from the bench Billy Holland will move ahead of Ronan O’Gara for all-time Munster appearances and become the second most capped player for the province for his 241st appearance in red.

Paddy Patterson is in line to make his Munster debut as he provides the scrum-half cover.

Find out you need to know ahead of the game here.

Munster: Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Rory Scannell, Damian de Allende, Shane Daly; JJ Hanrahan, Nick McCarthy; James Cronin, Kevin O’Byrne, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Jack O’Donoghue (C), Chris Cloete, Jack O’Sullivan.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Liam O’Connor, Roman Salanoa, Billy Holland, Gavin Coombes, Paddy Patterson, Joey Carbery, Darren Sweetnam.

Player News: Academy lock Thomas Ahern was unavailable for selection after picking up a knock in training this week.

Video | Press Pass

Hear from Defence Coach JP Ferreira and Liam O’Connor ahead of the game.

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6 Nations

Huge boost for Ulster & Ireland as Henderson signs new deal

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

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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Pro14

Ulster issue positive update on Coetzee injury

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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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