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Dublin: 11°C Sunday 16 May 2021
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Cullen rings the changes for Connacht clash but Ringrose retained at outside centre

Connacht have also named their team for Friday’s meeting.

Garry Ringrose will start at outside centre once again.
Garry Ringrose will start at outside centre once again.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

LEO CULLEN HAS shuffled his back for Friday’s Guinness Pro12 meeting with Connacht with the Leinster head coach making 11 changes from the team which defeated Munster last time out.

Johnny Sexton, Luke McGrath and Ben Te’o all return to the fold after missing the win at Thomond Park through injury as Cullen makes wholesale changes.

Ian Madigan, who this week confirmed his move to Bordeaux at the end of the season, drops to the bench alongside Sean O’Brien.

Cullen has opted for a completely fresh backrow with Rhys Ruddock captaining the side and Josh van der Flier restored at open side.

In the backs, Rob Kearney will make just his second Pro12 appearance of the season while his brother, Dave, is given the nod on the left wing.

Garry Ringrose was one of the standout performers from the 24-7 victory in Limerick and the 20-year-old is retained at outside centre, with Te’o partnering him in midfield.

O’Brien will start from the bench but will make his 100th appearance for the province if he’s introduced at any stage.

Leinster climbed into third place in the Pro12 after their fifth successive win last weekend and could move into second with victory over the western province on New Year’s Day.

Meanwhile, Pat Lam has made just three changes to his side for the much-anticipated clash in Dublin.

Tom McCartney has returned from injury with Jake Heenan coming back in at openside. It will be the flankers first game of the season after he underwent surgery in May.

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Andrew Browne also comes back in and partners Aly Muldowney in the second row.

Pat Lam Pat Lam has largely stuck with the same side for Friday. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“I’m pleased with the quality of the week’s preparation we have had as a squad. We travel to Dublin tomorrow confident in the knowledge that we have a good chance of getting the points on offer against Leinster as long as we play as a team and can take the opportunities we create,” Lam said.

“Although we face a big hurdle at the RDS, we are excited by it and are looking forward to the challenge.”

Kick-off at the RDS is at 5pm and the game is live on TG4.

Leinster (v Connacht):

15. Rob Kearney
14. Fergus McFadden
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Ben Te’o
11. Dave Kearney
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Luke McGrath
1. Jack McGrath
2. Richardt Strauss
3. Marty Moore
4. Devin Toner
5. Mike McCarthy
6. Rhys Ruddock (captain)
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jordi Murphy

Replacements:

16. James Tracy
17. Peter Dooley
18. Michael Bent
19. Ross Molony
20. Sean O’Brien
21. Eoin Reddan
22. Ian Madigan
23. Zane Kirchner

Connacht (v Leinster):

15. Tiernan O’Halloran
14. Niyi Adeolokun
13. Bundee Aki
12. Craig Ronaldson
11. Matt Healy
10. Jack Carty
9. Kieran Marmion
1. Finlay Bealham
2. Tom McCartney
3. Nathan White
4. Aly Muldowney
5. Andrew Browne
6. John Muldoon (captain)
7. Jake Heenan
8 . Eoghan Masterson
Replacements:
16. Dave Heffernan
17. Ronan Loughney
18. Rodney Ah You
19. Ultan Dillane
20. Sean O’Brien
21. Ian Porter
22. AJ MacGinty
23. Rory Parata

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