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Pro14

Ulster Much-Changed for Visit to Leinster

Ulster have rung the changes for their top of the table clash with Leinster tomorrow

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(Photo By John Dickson/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland has made a number changes to his squad for his side’s crunch game with Leinster at the RDS tomorrow at 19 35.

After a brilliant win over Harlequins in the Champions Cup last weekend the northern province have decided to rest a host of big name players for this game. 

Second-row Alan O’Connor will captain the team and make his 100th appearance for them in the process, while Rob Lyttle also returns to the team following some time out. 

Elsewhere, in the front-row Andrew Warwick and Tom O’Toole line-up either side of Adam McBurney, with David O’Connor joining Alan O’Connor in the engine-room. 

Matthew Rea starts as the blindside-flanker, with Nick Timoney at openside, and Greg Jones wraps up the forward pack from No 8. 

David Shanahan and Bill Johnston get a chance to shine in the half-backs, with John Conney and Billy Burns being rested after an incredible few weeks, while Angus Curtis joins Matt Faddes in the midfield, with the latter shifting to outside-centre. 

Angus Kernohan begins on the left-wing, with Craig Gilroy on the right and Lyttle starts at full-back. 

There isn’t too much experience on the bench with the likes of Azur Allison and Ethan McIlroy among the replacements. 

Speaking ahead of the game prop O’Toole is looking forward to the challenge they will face on Friday night. 

“We will have to front up to the challenge against Leinster but this group of players have come a long way and we’re excited to go down to them,” he said. 

Ulster will look to end Leinster’s winning streak so far this season and cut into the lead the hosts currently have at the top of Conference A, but they know that it will be a tough task to beat a Leinster side that are so consistent on home soil. 

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

Starting XV:

Rob Lyttle, Craig Gilroy, Matt Faddes, Angus Curtis, Angus Kernohan, Bill Johnston, David Shanahan; Andrew Warwick, Adam McBurney, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, Alan O’Connor (C), Matthew Rea, Nick Timoney, Greg Jones

Replacements: 

John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Ross Kane, Jack Regan, Azur Allison, Jonny Stewart, Stewart Moore, Ethan McIlroy

6 Nations

Scarlets provide updates on Williams & Owens

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(Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

Liam Williams has recovered from a foot injury that has prevented him playing for the Scarlets so far this season. He has been released from the Wales squad to train with the Scarlets ahead of Friday’s Guinness PRO14 clash with Benetton.

Ken Owens has undergone surgery on the shoulder injury he sustained against Glasgow and it is expected he will be unavailable for three to four months.

Josh Macleod has started his rehabilitation for a hamstring injury sustained against Glasgow. He will be targeting a return to play in December.

Scarlets also confirmed that Sam Lousi has been banned for a period of four weeks as a result of his red card in the Guinness PRO14 clash with Glasgow Warriors.

Lousi was shown a red card by referee Frank Murphy (IRFU) under Law 9.13 – a Player must not tackle an opponent early, late, or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling, or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulder even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.

The disciplinary hearing was handled by Roddy Dunlop (Scotland) and it was accepted that the player’s actions warranted a red card for foul play. The incident was deemed a mid-range offence, which carries a six-week suspension.

Due to the player’s previous disciplinary record (red card for punching incident, February 2020) the judicial officer could not offer full mitigation therefore, resulting in a four-week suspension.

Lousi is free to resume playing from midnight on November 9, 2020

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Pro14

Marcus Rea to start for Ulster v Ospreys

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Marcus Rea will make his first start for Ulster on Saturday evening, in the Guinness PRO14 Round 2 trip to play Ospreys at Liberty Stadium (kick-off 5.15pm). 

The 23-year-old – who was Player of the Match in his sole previous Ulster appearance as a replacement against Leinster in April 2019 – has been named at openside flanker. Marcus’s older brother Matty – Player of the Match in last weekend’s bonus point win over Benetton – is named alongside him at blindside, with Marcell Coetzee once again packing down at number eight. 

Jack McGrath, Rob Herring and Marty Moore have been given the front row starting berths, and Alan O’Connor has been selected along with captain Iain Henderson in the second row. 

Matt Faddes returns to the starting side on the right wing and will join Jacob Stockdale at full-back and Rob Lyttle on the left wing. Last week’s midfield duo of Stewart Moore and James Hume has been retained. Ian Madigan comes in to start at fly-half, pairing with John Cooney at scrum-half. 

The coaching team has opted for a 6-2 bench split. Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Gareth Milasinovich, Kieran Treadwell, Greg Jones and Sean Reidy provide the forward options, with David Shanahan and Louis Ludik offering back line cover.  

Ulster team to play Ospreys Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 2, Saturday 10 October 2020, at Liberty Stadium (kick-off 5.15pm, live on Premier Sports):   

(15-9) Jacob Stockdale, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Rob Lyttle, Ian Madigan, John Cooney.  (1-8) Jack McGrath, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.) , Matthew Rea, Marcus Rea, Marcell Coetzee.  Replacements: Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Gareth Milasinovich, Kieran Treadwell, Greg Jones, David Shanahan, Louis Ludik, Sean Reidy. 

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Pro14

Munster confirm COVID-19 case. Training suspended.

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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Munster Rugby have been assisting a senior player who has tested positive for Covid-19.

The latest PCR testing carried out on Monday at the HPC has returned a positive result for a player who is asymptomatic. To remove any doubt of a potential false positive the player will be retested tomorrow.
The individual, who was not part of the travelling group at the weekend, and six other players identified by Munster Rugby as potential close contacts, are currently self-isolating.

This approach of identifying possible close contacts is in line with the caution we have taken to this issue, these players may not be deemed close contacts by the HSE.

As a precautionary measure, the squad and academy will not train at the HPC today.
The HSE have been notified for contract tracing purposes.

Further PCR testing will take place tomorrow at the HPC with a return to scheduled training planned for Thursday ahead of Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 encounter against Edinburgh at Thomond Park.

Munster Rugby Head of Medical, Dr Jamie Kearns, said: “As an immediacy we are taking every precaution by standing down training today.

“We are going to complete another round of PCR testing tomorrow so that we can return to training on Thursday.

“Our priority is to ensure the health and safety of our players and staff, and we will continue to work closely with both the IRFU and HSE in this regard.”

Statement from Munster Rugby

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