RaboDirect PRO 12
All the weekend's Rabo12 team news in one place
Catch up on all the team news for the four Irish provinces involved in Rabo12 action this weekend.
While it will lack the level of intensity and excitement of last month’s Heineken Cup quarter-final at the same venue, there’s still a fair bit at stake when Munster and Ulster do battle in the all-Irish affair at Thomond Park tomorrow evening.
A win for the hosts will ensure a semi-final against the Ospreys as opposed to Leinster, and although the prospect of Ulster making the top four is highly unlikely, there’s still an outside chance if results go their way.
Brian McLaughlin doesn’t seem so confident of such a scenario materialising (not that he seems to mind according to the picture above) and has made ten changes from the side that beat Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup semi-final last weekend.
With the likes of O’Connell, Ryan, O’Mahony and Jones in their side, Munster look the stronger outfit on paper and should exact some revenge for the painful defeat last month.
Munster take on Ulster at Thomond Park on Saturday at 7.30pm.
Munster team to play Ulster: F Jones; J Murphy, I Dineen, L Mafi, S Zebo; I Keatley, C Murray; W du Preez, M Sherry, BJ Botha; M O'Driscoll, P O'Connell (Captain); D Ryan, T O'Donnell, P O'Mahony.
Replacements: D Varley, D Kilcoyne, S Archer, D O'Callaghan, P Butler, T O'Leary, S Deasy, K Earls.
Ulster team to play Munster: A D'Arcy; A Trimble, N Spence, I Whitten, C Cochrane; P Jackson, P Marshall; P McAllister, N Brady (Captain), D Fitzpatrick; L Stevenson, D Tuohy; I Henderson, W Faloon, R Diack
Replacements: N Annett, C Black, T Court, M McComish, A Birch, B McIlroy, I Humphreys, C Gilroy
With top spot assured and bigger tests awaiting further down the road, Joe Schmidt has opted to utilise Leinster’s vast resources for the clash with the Newport Gwent Dragons tomorrow evening.
Most of the big guns are spared for this one, although Eoin Reddan, Kevin McLaughlin and Sean Cronin will add some experience alongside the likes of Andrew Conway, Fionn Carr and Ryle Nugent impersonator extraordinaire, Brendan Macken.
Leinster take on the Dragons in Rodney Parade on Saturday at 7.30pm.
Leinster team to play the Dragons: David Kearney; Andrew Conway, Brendan Macken, Noel Reid, Fionn Carr; Ian Madigan, Eoin Reddan; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Nathan White; Devin Toner, Damian Browne; Kevin McLaughlin (Captain), Dominic Ryan, Leo Auva’a
Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Heinke van der Merwe, Jamie Hagan, Mark Flanagan, Jordi Murphy, Luke McGrath, Isa Nacewa, Darren Hudson
Henry Fa'afili and Ray Ofisa will make their final appearances for Connacht against Glasgow Warriors this weekend as the Westerners chase a result that would secure eighth place, their best ever league finish in the competition.
A win against the Warriors would ensure that milestone, but with the Scottish side looking to ensure their semi-final berth they could be a tough nut to crack.
Kick off in the clash between Connacht and Glasgow is at 7.30 pm on Saturday in Firhill.
Connacht team to play Glasgow Warriors: Gavin Duffy (Captain); Kyle Tonetti, Eoin Griffin, Henry Fa'afili, Tiernan O'Halloran; Miah Nikora, Frank Murphy; Denis Buckley, Adrian Flavin, Ronan Loughney; Michael Swift, Mike McCarthy; John Muldoon, Johnny O'Connor, George Naoupu
Replacements: Dermot Murphy, Stewart Maguire, Rodney Ah You, Mick Kearney, Ray Ofisa, Paul O'Donohoe, Matthew Jarvis, James Loxton