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Retiring Cave captains Ulster against Leinster as both provinces hold stars back for big games ahead

Ulster have a Pro14 quarter-final against Connacht to come next weekend, while Leinster are resting up for Saracens.

HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP finalists Leinster have rested all their front-liners for tomorrow’s final round of the Pro14, an inter-provincial clash away to Ulster (kick-off 17.15, eir Sport).

With a home Pro14 semi-final secured, Leinster will have a fortnight to prepare for the ‘battle’ with Saracens in Newcastle on 11 May after this fixture. However, head coach Leo Cullen has opted to keep his leading lights out of the firing line, with only four players from the 23 who defeated Toulouse included for the trip up the M1.

Darren Cave will captain Ulster as he prepares for retirement at the end of the current campaign. The 32-year-old has played 226 times for his native province and will hope to add to that tally with a Pro14 quarter-final against Connacht to come next weekend.

Darren Cave celebrates Cave celebrates a try against Bath in 2008. Source: PressEye/Matt Mackey/INPHO

David Busby returns after a knee injury to make his first start of the season for the hosts in a back three containing fellow academy products Mike Lowry and Angus Kernohan.

Johnny McPhillips is back from the Cara Cup in the US to start at out-half alongside Dave Shanahan. Marcus Rea is the most inexperienced of the replacements and the back row will hope to win a senior debut from the bench.

Leinster will also unleash a debutant from the replacements as second row Ryan Baird prepares to enter the fray alongside fellow U20 Grand Slam winners Scott Penny and Ulster’s Kernohan.

Johnny Sexton replaced by Ross Byrne Byrne, right, coming on to replace Johnny Sexton in the win over Toulouse. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The match will be a farewell for more than just Cave as Leinster’s Jack McGrath will pack down against his future team-mates, while centre Noel Reid and Nick McCarthy also appear set for a final match with their native province.

Reid partners Joe Tomane in midfield with Munster-bound McCarthy inside Ross Byrne, who captains Leinster for the first time.

Ulster

15. Mike Lowry
14. David Busby
13. Darren Cave (Capt)
12. Peter Nelson
11. Angus Kernohan
10. Johnny McPhillips
9. Dave Shanahan

1. Andy Warwick
2. John Andrew
3. Ross Kane
4. Ian Nagle
5. Alan O’Connor
6. Matty Rea
7. Clive Ross
8. Sean Reidy

Replacements

16. Adam McBurney
17. Tommy O’Hagan
18. Tom O’Toole
19. Nick Timoney
20. Marcus Rea
21. Jonny Stewart
22. Jack Owens
23. Rob Lyttle

Leinster

15. Jimmy O’Brien
14. Fergus McFadden
13. Joe Tomane
12. Noel Reid
11. Dave Kearney
10. Ross Byrne (Capt)
9. Nick McCarthy

1. Jack McGrath
2. Bryan Byrne
3. Michael Bent
4. Josh Murphy
5. Oisin Dowling
6. Max Deegan
7. Will Connors
8. Caelan Doris

Replacements

16. Ronan Kelleher
17. Peter Dooley
18. Vakh Abdaladze
19. Ryan Baird
20. Scott Penny
21. Paddy Patterson
22. Ciaran Frawley
23. Barry Daly

Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella are joined by Andy Dunne to get stuck into last weekend’s Champions Cup semi-finals.:


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Sean Farrell

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