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Pro14

Ludik Returns for Ulster’s Ospreys Trip

Ulster have named their squad to play Ospreys in the PRO14 tomorrow and star back Louis Ludik makes a return to action

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(Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland has announced his 23-man squad for tomorrow’s PRO14 clash with the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium at 17 15.

Star back-liner Louis Ludik makes a welcome return from injury to slot straight back into the starting line-up along with the likes of Robert Baloucoune, Stuart McCloskey and Billy Burns coming back in after being released from the Ireland squad by head coach Andy Farrell. 

In the front-row Eric O’Sullivan starts alongside Adam McBurney and Marty Moore, with Alan O’Connor captaining the side in Iain Henderson’s absence from the second-row beside Kieran Treadwell. 

In the back-row Matthew Rea is at blindside-flanker, with Sean Reidy at openside and Marcell Coetzee completes the forward pack from No 8. 

David Shanahan comes in at scrum-half, with Burns linking-up with him in the half-backs, and they have McCloskey and Luke Marshall outside them in the midfield duo. 

Ludik opens the game on the left-wing, with Baloucoune on the right and Matt Faddes finishes the starting XV from full-back. 

There is a huge amount of experience on the bench to call upon if needed with the likes of Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Bill Johnston and Craig Gilroy among the replacements. 

Ulster will be hoping to continue their fine start to the season and maintain their push for a top two finish in Conference A, while the Ospreys will be desperate for a positive result in what has been a terrible season to date as they sit bottom of the conference after 10 games. 

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below. 

Starting XV: 

Matt Faddes, Robert Baloucoune, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Louis Ludik, Billy Burns, David Shanahan; Eric O’Sullivan, Adam McBurney, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor (C), Kieran Treadwell, Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy, Marcell Coetzee

Replacements: 

John Andrew, Jack McGrath, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, Jordi Murphy, Jonny Stewart, Bill Johnston, Craig Gilroy

Pro14

Leinster Battle Past Spirited Ospreys

Leinster have made it 12 wins from 12 in the PRO14 with a big performance against a dogged Ospreys side

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(Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster have made it 12 wins in a row in the PRO14 with a 21-13 victory against the Ospreys at the Gnoll tonight.

It extends their winning streak to 18 across all competitions so far this season, but they were made to work for the result by a battling Ospreys side. 

The Ospreys had the better of the game early on and had a chance to take the lead with a penalty but it hit the upright from long-range. 

They were made to pay for that miss just before the quarter of an hour mark as Tommy O’Brien, who was brought on for Conor O’Brien early on, was put over after some wonderful quick passing from the Leinster players. Ciaran Frawley slotted over the conversion from the right-hand side of the pitch to make it 7-0. 

Ospreys fly-half Luke Price missed another penalty a few minutes later, but it was third time lucky for the hosts as he struck over a penalty heading into the final minute of the half. 

However, it got better for the home side seconds later as Leinster attempted an attack near the halfway-line only to misplace the pass allowing winger Luke Morgan to pick up the ball and race in for a try. Price added the extras to leave the Ospreys 10-7 in front come the half-time whistle as they looked to cause a major upset. 

Leinster came flying out of the blocks in the second period and camped in the Osprey’s 22 for the opening 10 minutes of the half, winning penalty after penalty, taking the scrum option nearly every time. 

Their hard work was rewarded around the 50 minute mark as Josh Murphy eventually barrelled over the line from close-range. Frawley knocked over the conversion from beside the posts to put them back in front. 

The Ospreys came back strong following that score and after some good play in the Leinster half they got to within a point of the away side as Price kicked a simple penalty from in front of the posts to make it 14-13 with just under 20 minutes to go. 

Ospreys couldn’t cope with the Leinster pressure that was to come and conceded several penalties, but Leinster had to wait until the final five minutes to make it count. 

With five minutes left the referee lost his patience with the hosts and sent replacement hooker Sam Perry to the sin-bin. 

From the resulting scrum the boys in blue got over for their third try of the game with Cian Kelleher darting over down the right-wing. Harry Byrne was perfect from the tee to extend their lead. 

Next up for the Ospreys is a trip to Italy where they will face Zebre next Friday, while Leinster will hope to continue their winning run across all competitions when they host the Glasgow Warriors at the same time.  

Player Ratings

Starting XV: 

Hugo Keenan (7), Cian Kelleher (7), Jimmy O’Brien (7), Conor O’Brien (N/A), James Lowe (8), Ciaran Frawley (8), Jamison Gibson-Park (8); Peter Dooley (9), James Tracy (6), Michael Bent (8), Ross Molony (7), Scott Fardy (7), Josh Murphy (8), Scott Penny (7), Rhys Ruddock (7)

Replacements (7)

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Pro14

Ulster Change Five for Cheetahs Game

Ulster have made five changes to their team for their PRO14 game with the Cheetahs this weekend

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(Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland has made five changes to his starting XV for his side’s PRO14 clash with the Cheetahs at the Kingspan Stadium tomorrow at 19 35.

Among the changes are returning duo Michael Lowry and James Hume, who both return from respective injuries. 

In the front-row Eric O’Sullivan and Marty Moore are either side of hooker Adam McBurney, with Alan O’Connor captaining the side alongside Kieran Treadwell in the second-row. 

Nick Tomoney starts at blindside-flanker, with Jordi Murphy in as the openside and Marcell Coetzee completes the pack from No 8.

David Shanahan opens up at scrum-half and is joined in the half-backs by Bill Johnston, those two have Humes and Luke Marshall outside them in the centre pairing. 

Louis Ludik is again used on the left-wing, with Robert Baloucoune on the right and Lowry finishes up the starting line-up from full-back. 

There is plenty of talent for McFarland to call upon on the bench with the likes of Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, Sean Reidy and Craig Gilroy among the replacements. 

Ulster head into the game looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to the Ospreys last weekend, but will be wary of the Cheetahs who will be led by former Ulster star Ruan Pienaar and will be hoping to put pressure on the team just above them in Conference A.

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below. 

Starting XV: 

Michael Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, Luke Marshall, James Hume, Louis Ludik, Bill Johnston, David Shanahan; Eric O’Sullivan, Adam McBurney, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor (Capt.), Kieran Treadwell, Nick Timoney, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee.

Replacements: 

John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, Sean Reidy, Jonny Stewart, Stewart Moore, Craig Gilroy

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Pro14

Leinster Change Eight for Ospreys Trip

Leinster have changed eight of their starting XV for this weekend’s PRO14 clash with the Ospreys

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(Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made eight changes to his starting line-up for tomorrow’s PRO14 game against the Ospreys at the Gnoll at 19 35.

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. 

Starting XV: 

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)

Replacements:

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)

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