# domestic bliss
7 great reasons to watch the Pro12 action this weekend
Including Jonny Sexton drop goals, farewells to legends and Lions all over the shop.

Can JJ provide Munster with an attacking spark?

JJ Hanrahan has been named at inside centre for Munster’s away date with Newport Gwent Dragons this evening. This season, James Downey and Casey Laulala have provided hard-tackling commitment but little else to the Munster midfield. Another lively outing from the young Kerryman could see him packing his bags and providing backline cover for Munster’s Heineken Cup semi-final against Clermont.

JJ Hanrahan is partnered in midfield by Ivan Dineen. (©INPHO/Morgan Treacy)

Jonny is back and he loves a drop goal in Italy

Sunday’s game away to Zebre could be the last time Jonathan Sexton plays an away match with Leinster. This is what he did to Benetton Treviso on his last visit to Italy:

YouTube credit: Tap Tackle

Youth is blooming in Galway

No Craig Gilroy or Luke Marshall in the Ulster backline but Paddy Jackson returns and inside centre Stuart Olding is in flying form [Kick-off is 7:45pm and the game will be shown on TG4 and BBC 2]. Outgoing Connacht coach Eric Elwood counters with five young guns in his backs – Robbie Henshaw, Eoin Griffin, Kieran Marmion, Danie Poolman and the province’s player of the month, Brian Murphy.

Veterans Dan Parks and Gavin Duffy lend some experience to the westerners behind the scrum and their curfew isn’t until 11pm.

Farewell to a legend and a legend in the making

Newport Gwent Dragons will say goodbye to hooker Steve Jones following their match against Munster this evening. 180 caps for the Welsh region and five times capped by his country, ‘Jabber’ is a fan favourite at Rodney Parade. Flanker Dan Lydiate is off to Racing Metro this summer and will hope to shadow Jones on his lap of honour.

O’Driscoll back as captain again

Is this a portent of a Lions tour to come? The talismanic centre will lead Leinster against Zebre on Sunday in what could also be his final away game for the side he has represented for 14 seasons.

The Blues still require a win to keep in the hunt for a home semi-final so expect O’Driscoll to stay on-field at Stadio del Tricolore until the points are secured.

Kick-off is 3pm and the game will be shown on RTE Two.

Glasgow play Ospreys – Irish teams to benefit

Reigning Pro12 champions, Ospreys have recovered from a woeful league start to give themselves an outside chance of claiming a home playoff semi-final. They play a Glasgow Warriors side that, up until last weekend, were leading the league. With Ulster and Leinster hoping for semis at Ravenhill and the RDS respectively, a low-scoring draw would be most welcomed but they may well be cheering for the Welshmen.

Five Lions on one Welsh field

Scarlets have a chance of getting a playoff berth while Cardiff Blues have endured a season to forget. Nonetheless, with Lions squad selection just over a week away, supporters will get the opportunity of seeing at least five players that will feature against the Wallabies.

Stamp those passports mate: North, Davies & Roberts. (©INPHO/Billy Stickland)

Scarlets line up with George North and Jonathan Davies in their backline while Blues start Jamie Roberts, Leigh Halfpenny and possible captain Sam Warburton.

How the Irish provinces line out

Munster: Denis Hurley; Ronan O’Mahony, Ivan Dineen, JJ Hanrahan, Johne Murphy; Ian Keatley, Cathal Sheridan; Wian du Preez, Damien Varley, Stephen Archer; Dave Foley, Billy Holland; Dave O’Callaghan, Niall Ronan, Paddy Butler. Replacements: Sean Henry, Marcus Horan, John Ryan, Ian Nagle, CJ Stander, Duncan Williams, Cian Bohane, Danny Barnes.

Connacht: Robbie Henshaw; Danie Poolman, Eoin Griffin, Brian Murphy, Gavin Duffy (c); Dan Parks, Kieran Marmion; Brett Wilkinson, Adrian Flavin, Ronan Loughney; Michael Swift, Mike McCarthy; Mick Kearney, John Muldoon, George Naoupu.Replacements: Ethienne Reynecke, Rodney Ah You, JP Cooney, Andrew Browne, Mata Fifita, Paul O’Donohoe, Miah Nikora, Fetu’u Vainikolo.

Ulster’s tactics to beat Connacht: Hide Chris Henry behind Nick Williams. (©INPHO/Presseye/Darren Kidd)

Ulster: Jared Payne; Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Stuart Olding, Tommy Bowe; Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar; Tom Court, Rory Best (c), Ricky Lutton; Lewis Stevenson, Dan Tuohy; Robbie Diack, Chris Henry, Nick Williams. Replacements: Rob Herring, Callum Black, John Afoa, Johann Muller, Iain Henderson, Paul Marshall, Mike Allen, Peter Nelson.

Leinster: Isa Nacewa; Fergus McFadden, Brian O’Driscoll (c), Andrew Goodman, Fionn Carr; Jonathan Sexton, John Cooney; Jack McGrath, Richardt Strauss, Michael Bent; Tom Denton, Devin Toner; Kevin McLaughlin, Dominic Ryan, Rhys Ruddock. Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Jack O’Connell, Jamie Hagan, Quinn Roux, Leo Auva’a, Isaac Boss, Cathal Marsh, Andrew Conway.

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Ireland target Jake White rules himself out of the running

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