Saturday 20 January 2018

Team news: Christian Lealiifano starts for Ulster in home farewell as Bundee Aki returns for Connacht

1 December 2017; Christian Lealiifano kicks a successful conversion to draw his side level during the Guinness PRO14 Round 10 match between Dragons and Ulster at Rodney Parade in Newport, Wales. Photo by Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile
1 December 2017; Christian Lealiifano kicks a successful conversion to draw his side level during the Guinness PRO14 Round 10 match between Dragons and Ulster at Rodney Parade in Newport, Wales. Photo by Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile

Out-half Christian Lealiifano has been named to start for Ulster against La Rochelle in what will be his last game at Kingspan Stadium before he returns to Australia.

Lealiifano has performed well as a replacement number ten this year, with Les Kiss selecting academy youngster Johnny McPhillips on the bench as the substitute out-half for what could be his European debut.

Craig Gilroy and Louis Ludik return to the backline after missing the heavy defeat to Leinster, while academy youngster Nick Timoney is named at number eight.

Meanwhile, Connacht's Irish contingent return for the trip to Worcester in the Challenge Cup after last weekend's heavy defeat to Munster. Ultan Dillane, Kieran Marmion and Bundee Aki all start as Kieran Keane's side look to seal top spot in their pool and take a step towards a home quarter-final.

Ulster

15. Charles Piutau

14. Craig Gilroy

13. Louis Ludik

12. Stuart McCloskey

11. Jacob Stockdale

10. Christian Lealiifano

9. John Cooney

1. Callum Black

2. Rory Best (Capt)

3. Rodney Ah You

4. Alan O’Connor

5. Iain Henderson

6. Matty Rea

7. Sean Reidy

8. Nick Timoney

Replacements:

16. Rob Herring

17. Kyle McCall

18. Ross Kane

19. Kieran Treadwell

20. Chris Henry

21. Dave Shanahan

22. Johnny McPhillips

23. Darren Cave

 

Connacht:

15. Tiernan O’Halloran

14. Darragh Leader

13. Bundee Aki

12. Tom Farrell

11. Niyi Adeolokun

10. Craig Ronaldson

9. Kieran Marmion

1. Peter McCabe

2. Dave Heffernan

3. Conor Carey

4. Ultan Dillane

5. Quinn Roux

6. Eoghan Masterson

7. Jarrad Butler

8. John Muldoon (Captain)

Replacements:

16. Shane Delahunt

17. Denis Coulson

18. Dominic Robertson-McCoy

19. Gavin Thornbury

20. Naulia Dawai

21. Caolin Blade

22. Eoin Griffin

23. Cian Kelleher

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