Provincial team news: Jack McGrath replaces suspended Cian Healy, three changes for Munster
Published 18/12/2015 | 12:23
The team news for all four Irish provinces ahead of a big weekend of action in Europe.
Leinster boss Leo Cullen has made a number of forced changes for the meeting with Toulon at the Aviva Stadim tomorrow evening.
Fergus McFadden and Isaac Boss have both failed to shake off minor strains in time for the game tomorrow. McFadden picked up a calf strain on Tuesday and didn't come through the session this morning, likewise Boss who had a hamstring issue during the week. Neither injury is of long term concern to the coaching staff.
As a result in the backs Rob Kearney continues at full back with Dave Kearney coming in for McFadden on the right wing and Isa Nacewa on the left. Nacewa also captains the side in his first game at the Aviva Stadium since December 2012.
Leinster v Toulon - Team Announcement
Here is your Leinster team to face RCT - Rugby Club Toulonnais tomorrow at 5.15pm.See the full 23-man squad: http://bit.ly/1YlVlZY43,910 tickets have been sold. Will you be in Aviva Stadium tomorrow to get behind the team?Posted by Leinster Rugby on Friday, December 18, 2015
Luke Fitzgerald and Ben Te'o continue in the centre while Eoin Reddan comes in at scrumhalf to partner Johnny Sexton.
In the pack Jack McGrath starts at loosehead, with Cian Healy in the squad but awaiting the verdict on his appeal against , beside Richardt Strauss at hooker and Mike Ross at tight head.
In the second row Devin Toner and Mike McCarthy are once again selected. The game against Toulon will be McCarthy's 300th senior club appearance since his debut for Wasps in the 2001/2002 season against Sale Sharks.
There is no change either in the back row with Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier and Jamie Heaslip once again selected. Ruddock also has reason to celebrate as the game against Toulon will be his 100th appearance in blue since his debut in December 2009 against the Newport Gwent Dragons.
20 year old Nick McCarthy is in line to make his Leinster senior debut from the bench. The UCD scrumhalf who is a member of the Leinster Academy and was registered for the Champions Cup only this week in the absence of the injured Luke McGrath, was captain of the Irelend Under 20's last season.
Leinster: (15-9) Rob Kearney, Dave Kearney, Ben Te'o, Luke Fitzgerald, Isa Nacewa, Johnny Sexton, Eoin Reddan; (1-8) Jack McGrath, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross, Mike McCarthy, Devin Toner, Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier, Jamie Heaslip (c).
Munster boss Anthony Foley makes three changes for Munster's crucial clash with Leicester at Welford Road on Sunday.
All three changes are in the pack with Mike Sherry and John Ryan joining James Cronin in the front row while Mark Chisholm starts in the second row with Donnacha Ryan.
An unchanged backline sees Conor Murray and Ian Keatley in the half-backs, with Denis Hurley and Francis Saili in midfield and completing the back three are Simon Zebo, Keith Earls and Andrew Conway.
With BJ Botha continuing to follow return to play protocols for a concussion sustained last weekend Uruguayan international Mario Sagario is named in the replacements in his first Champions Cup match-day squad.
Munster: (15-9) Andrew Conway; Keith Earls, Francis Saili, Denis Hurley, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; (1-8) James Cronin, Mike Sherry, John Ryan , BJ Botha; Mark Chisholm, Donnacha Ryan; Robin Copeland, Dave O'Callaghan, CJ Stander (c).
Ulster have made two changes to team that humbled Toulouse 38-0 in Belfast last week for the return game in France on Sunday.
Sean Reidy is set to make his Champions Cup debut after being named at openside flanker, while Roger Wilson will start at number 8 in place of Nick Williams.
Rory Best will again captain the side from hooker and will be flanked in the front row by Kyle McCall and Wiehahn Herbst. Alan O'Connor and Franco van der Merwe continue in the second row.
The backline is unchanged from last week; Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson occupy the half back positions, Stuart McCloskey and Luke Marshall start in midfield and Craig Gilroy, Andrew Trimble and Louis Ludik make up the back three.
Rob Herring, Andy Warwick and Ricky Lutton are the front row replacements for a second consecutive week, as Lewis Stevenson and Williams provide further cover up front. Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys and Rory Scholes complete the match day 23.
Ulster: (15-9) Louis Ludik, Andrew Trimble, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar; (1-8): Kyle McCall, Rory Best (c), Wiehahn Herbst, Alan O'Connor, Franco van der Merwe, Robbie Diack, Sean Reidy, Roger Wilson.
Connacht are unable to name a 23-man squad for the Sunday's trip to Newcastle such is the depth of their injury problems.
There are seven personnel and four positional changes from the starting side that defeated the premiership club seven days ago.
22-year-old outhalf Shane O’Leary will get his first start in a Connacht shirt this weekend while Caolin Blade is retained at scrum half.
Craig Ronaldson returns to the backline to join Peter Robb in another new mid field partnership while Rory Parata shifts out to the right wing. Last week’s try scorer Danie Poolman becomes the fifth player to wear the number 15 shirt this season, moving from his more regular position on the wing.
Up front, 19-year-old Academy prop Conan O’Donnell has been handed his first senior start, having made seven appearances from the bench this season. The Sligo man is joined in the front row by Rodney Ah You and hooker Jason Harris-Wright who makes his 50th Connacht appearance.
Danny Qualter will also start for the first time this season and is joined in the second row by Galway man Andrew Browne on his return from injury.
Eoghan Masterson is another welcome returnee and starts in a back row with Sean O’Brien and the experienced George Naoupu who will captain the side on Sunday.
Academy tighthead prop Saba Meunargia, who was added to the European Challenge Cup squad this week is named among the front row replacements. The Georgian native and Athlone raised 21-year-old was brought on from the bench in Connacht’s Challenge Cup win away to Bayonne 12 months ago.
Connacht: (15-9) Danie Poolman, Rory Parata, Peter Robb, Craig Ronaldson, Niyi Adeolokun, Shane O’Leary, Caolin Blade; (1-8) Conan O’Donnell, Jason Harris-Wright, Rodney Ah You, Danny Qualter, Andrew Browne, Sean O’Brien, Eoghan Masterson, George Naoupu (captain)