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Dublin: 7°C Saturday 26 September 2020

Provinces welcome back O'Mahony, O'Driscoll, Muldoon and Payne for Heineken Cup

All four Irish sides have named their Heineken Cup teams today.

Duncan Casey could make his Munster debut tomorrow.
Duncan Casey could make his Munster debut tomorrow.
Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Updated 13.00

UTILITY BACK JARED Payne has passed a late assessment on a groin problem and has been named in Ulster’s starting line-up to for the Heineken Cup visit of Treviso tomorrow.

The returning Kiwi takes up his familiar role at fullback, pushing rising star Michael Allen to the replacements bench as Craig Gilroy is preferred on the left wing.

Up front, John Afoa lines out at tight-head prop in the week he confirmed a move to the English Premiership next season.

Rob Herring comes into the front row in place of Rory Best while there is a definite second-choice feel about the back row of Robbie Diack, Sean Doyle and Roger Wilson with Iain Henderson, Nick Williams and Chris Henry all out injured.

Ulster ( v Treviso): J Payne, A Trimble, D Cave, L Marshall, C Gilroy, P Jackson, R Pienaar: T Court, R Herring, J Afoa, J Muller (Capt.), D Tuohy, R Diack, S Doyle, R Wilson;

Replacements: N Annett, C Black, D Fitzpatrick, N McComb, M McComish, P Marshall, M Allen, D McIlwaine.

Ian Madigan and Eoin Reddan will hold the reins when Leinster travel to face Northampton in Franklin’s Gardens tomorrow.

The Ireland out-half, who along with Reddan was expected to be held in reserve for away trips like this, has been preferred to Jimmy Gopperth as coach Matt O’Connor selects an all-Irish starting line-up.

One of those is not captain Leo Cullen who will hope to have a lead to protect when he comes off the bench in place of either Devin Toner or Mike McCarthy.

As expected, Brian O’Driscoll has recovered from the concussion suffered against New Zealand and will start alongside Gordon D’Arcy in midfield.

Leinster (v Northampton): R Kearney; D Kearney, B O’Driscoll, G D’Arcy, L Fitzgerald; I Madigan, E Reddan; C Healy, S Cronin, M Ross; D Toner, M McCarthy; R Ruddock, S O’Brien, J Heaslip (Capt.).

Replacements: A Dundon, J McGrath, M Moore, L Cullen, S Jennings, I Boss, J Gopperth, Z Kirchner.

Munster coach Rob Penney has been able to call upon number eight James Coughlan to face Perpignan in the Heineken Cup this Sunday despite an initial doubt early this week.

Coughlan sustained an eye injury during last week’s win away to Dragons, but has been cleared to line up with captain Peter O’Mahony and Sean Dougall in the back row.

The only other change in the pack is the expected enforced selection of Damien Varley with Mike Sherry injured. Sherry’s misfortune hands an opportunity to Shannon hooker Duncan Casey who is almost certain to make his competitive debut from the bench.

Behind the scrum, Conor Murray is another of the expected returnees, while Casey Laulala’s selection has pushed Keith Earls back out to a berth on the wing opposite Johne Murphy.

Munster (v Perpignan): F Jones; K Earls, C Laulala, J Downey, J Murphy; I Keatley, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, D Varley, S Archer; Donncha O’Callaghan, P O’Connell; P O’Mahony (Capt.), S Dougall, J Coughlan.

Replacements: D Casey, J Cronin, BJ Botha, B Holland, CJ Stander, C Sheridan, JJ Hanrahan, D Hurley

John Muldoon will start Connacht’s tough task in Toulouse this Sunday afternoon.

The blindside made his return from injury as a replacement in last week’s 43 – 10 hammering away to Edinburgh. The only other change made by Pat Lam is at loose-head prop where Brett Wilkinson replaces Ronan Loughney.

Kiwi second row Craig Clarke captains the side despite Muldoon’s presence as Michael Swift and Gavin Duffy will hope to make an impact from the bench.

Connacht (v Toulouse): R Henshaw, F Carr, E Griffin, D McSharry, M Healy, D Parks, K Marmion, B Wilkinson, S Henry, N White, M Kearney, C Clarke (capt), J Muldoon, J Heenan, G Naoupu,

Replacements: J Harris Wright, D Buckley, R Ah You, M Swift, E McKeon, F Murphy, C Ronaldson, G Duffy.

Originally published 12.00

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