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Rob Kearney at 15 for Leinster as Madigan starts for Ulster

Both sides are qualified for the Pro14 semi-finals, but the players involved will be keen to stake a claim.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

ULSTER HEAD COACH Dan McFarland has made eight changes to his side after a week disrupted by positive Covid-19 cases within the academy for tomorrow’s Pro14 meeting with Leinster at the Aviva Stadium (kick-off 19.35, eir Sport).

With both sides already assured of their place in next weekend’s semi-finals, Leinsster have also rung the changes after their hard-fought win over Munster on reopening weekend.

Rob Kearney starts as the clock ticks down to the 34-year-old’s departure at the end of the season. The legendary fullback and the 90-cap Jamison Gibson-Park will operate either end of an otherwise youthful back-line with Hugo Keenan, Cian Kelleher, Rory O’Loughlin, Ciaran Frawley and Ross Byrne getting the chance to show their wares before the knockout stage of the season comes around.

Ed Byrne will captain Leinster from the front row with Sean Cronin, Devin Toner and Max Deegan adding international pedigree to the pack. Ireland U20 tighthead Tom Clarkson is in line for his senior debut from the bench.

Australian Sam Carter will captain Ulster from the second row, where he is joined by Kieran Treadwell.

With the front row rotated from last weekend’s loss to Connacht, Jordi Murphy and Marcell Coetzee give a big game look to the Ulster back row.

James Hume has been cleared to play after his concussion last week, so he again partners Stuart McCloskey in the centre. Ian Madigan is given his first start at out-half for Ulster while Jacob Stockdale continues at fullback.

Ulster

15. Jacob Stockdale
14. Matt Faddes
13. James Hume
12. Stuart McCloskey
11. Rob Lyttle
10. Ian Madigan
9. John Cooney

1. Eric O’Sullivan
2. Rob Herring
3. Tom O’Toole
4. Sam Carter Capt
5. Kieran Treadwell
6. vMatthew Rea
7. Jordi Murphy
8. Marcell Coetzee.

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Replacements:

16. John Andrew
17. Kyle McCall
18. Marty Moore
19. Alan O’Connor
20. Nick Timoney
21. David Shanahan
22. Bill Johnston
23. Louis Ludik

Leinster

15. Rob Kearney
14. Hugo Keenan
13. Rory O’Loughlin
12. Ciarán Frawley
11. Cian Kelleher
10. Ross Byrne
9. Jamison Gibson-Park

1. Ed Byrne Capt
2. Seán Cronin
3. Michael Bent
4. Devin Toner
5. Ross Molony
6. Josh Murphy
7. Will Connors
8. Max Deegan

Replacements

16. James Tracy
17. Michael Milne
18. Tom Clarkson
19. Rhys Ruddock
20. Scott Penny
21. Rowan Osborne
22. Harry Byrne
23. Jimmy O’Brien

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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