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We have the starting teams and the opposition for Connacht, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster on round 1 of the URC 2022/23
The Leinster Rugby squad, as sponsored by Bank of Ireland, to take on Benetton Rugby tomorrow evening in the RDS Arena in the BKT United Rugby Championship has been announced by head coach Leo Cullen (KO: 7.35pm – live on TG4, Premier Sports and URC TV).
The game will also host a number of activities for Season Ticket Holders and supporters, with Leinster Rugby confirming that season pack collections will be available )
There will also be a fanzone – the Laighin Den – in place for the first home game of the season behind the Anglesea Stand with bands playing before and after the game, and player and coach Q&As, also before and after the game.
Tickets for the game are still on sale at leinsterrugby.ie.
To team news, there are a number of changes to the 23 that accounted for Zebre Parma last weekend on the road with Leo Cullen able to call on a number of the Irish players that won a first ever series in New Zealand during the summer.
Garry Ringrose is also back to the starting XV and will captain the side. He will be partnered in the centre by Robbie Henshaw.
Elsewhere in the backs Jimmy O’Brien, Jordan Larmour and Dave Kearney are the back three selected by Cullen, with Luke McGrath and Ciarán Frawley in the half backs.
To the pack, Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan and Michael Ala’alatoa are selected in the front row, while James Ryan partners South African lock Jason Jenkins for the first time behind them.
Finally, it’s a completely new back row for Cullen this week, with Ryan Baird, Josh van der Flier and Caelan Doris selected to start.
On the bench Cian Healy is in line to win his 250th cap if introduced.
Leinster Rugby (caps in brackets):
15. Jimmy O’Brien (53)
14. Jordan Larmour (74)
13. Garry Ringrose (102) CAPTAIN
12. Robbie Henshaw (68)
11. Dave Kearney (174)
10. Ciarán Frawley (57)
9. Luke McGrath (176)
1. Andrew Porter (91)
2. Dan Sheehan (29)
3. Michael Ala’alatoa (26)
4. Jason Jenkins (1)
5. James Ryan (58)
6. Ryan Baird (38)
7. Josh van der Flier (114)
8. Caelan Doris (55)
16. Rónan Kelleher (37)
17. Ed Byrne (86)
18. Cian Healy (249)
19. Ross Molony (140)
20. Will Connors (26)
21. Cormac Foley (5)
22. Ross Byrne (129)
23. Charlie Ngatai (1)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (SARU)
The Connacht side has been named ahead of tomorrow’s clash with reigning BKT URC champions DHL Stormers in Stellenbosch (k/o 1.30pm Irish time).
In total there are nine changes from the side that lost to Ulster, with six of those among the forwards. There’s a new front row of Denis Buckley, Dylan Tierney-Martin and Finlay Bealham, and a new second row partnership of Niall Murray and Josh Murphy who moves from blindside flanker.
Cian Prendergast and captain for the day Jarrad Butler come onto the flanks with Paul Boyle retained at number 8.
Caolin Blade is named at scrum-half with out-half Conor Fitzgerald for company, while the back line includes starts for Mack Hansen and Oran McNulty. Hansen starts on the left wing with John Porch on the opposite wing and McNulty at full-back, while the centre partnership consists of Tom Farrell and Byron Ralston.
The squad arrived in Cape Town on Tuesday and today travel to Stellenbosch where the game will take place. The squad will remain there until Thursday when they fly to Pretoria for the next week’s game with the Vodacom Bulls.
Commenting on the team announcement, Director of Rugby Andy Friend says:
‘We’ve had a positive week so far in South Africa. After arriving on Tuesday, we’ve managed to get the required training done and we’re in a good space heading into our game against the Stormers.
I don’t believe that our performance against Ulster was reflective of all the hard work we’d put in during pre-season, and I’m very confident that we’ll deliver a much improved performance on Saturday against last year’s champions.”
Saturday 24th September 2022, 13:30 Irish time / 14:30 South Africa time @ Danie Craven Stadium
15. Oran McNulty (9)
14. John Porch (60)
13. Byron Ralston (1)
12. Tom Farrell (80)
11. Mack Hansen (14)
10. Conor Fitzgerald (54)
9. Caolin Blade (151)
1. Denis Buckley (209)
2. Dylan Tierney-Martin (7)
3. Finlay Bealham (174)
4. Josh Murphy (1)
5. Niall Murray (36)
6. Cian Prendergast (31)
7. Jarrad Butler (95)
8. Paul Boyle (74)
16. Dave Heffernan (166)
17. Peter Dooley (1)
18. Jack Aungier (32)
19. Oisín Dowling (25)
20. Shamus Hurley-Langton (1)
21. Kieran Marmion (210)
22. Bundee Aki (118)
23. David Hawkshaw (1)
The Munster team has been named for the province’s Round 2 BKT United Rugby Championship clash with Dragons in Rodney Parade on Sunday (3pm, live on RTÉ 2, BBC Wales, Premier Sports, Discovery + and URC TV).
There are eight changes to the starting side which faced Cardiff in the opening round last weekend.
Mike Haley comes into the side at fullback for his first competitive appearance of the season as do Keith Earls and Simon Zebo who start on each wing. Malakai Fekitoa moves to outside centre as Dan Goggin comes into the side at inside centre.
Ben Healy continues at out-half while Craig Casey comes in to start at scrum-half.
Up front, Dave Kilcoyne starts at loosehead after making his first appearance of the season from the bench last weekend. Niall Scannell continues at hooker while Stephen Archer comes into the side at tighthead.
Jean Kleyn and Fineen Wycherley remain in the second-row.
There is one change in the back-row as Peter O’Mahony comes in to captain the side. Jack O’Donoghue and Jack O’Sullivan remain from last week.
Greencore Academy lock Edwin Edogbo is named among the replacements and is set for his competitive Munster debut.
Ireland internationals Tadhg Beirne and Joey Carbery are also in line for their first appearances of the season.
Munster: Mike Haley, Keith Earls, Malakai Fekitoa, Dan Goggin, Simon Zebo, Ben Healy, Craig Casey; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley, Jack O’Donoghue, Peter O’Mahony (c), Jack O’Sullivan.
Replacements: Scott Buckley, Liam O’Connor, Keynan Knox, Edwin Edogbo, Tadhg Beirne, Paddy Patterson, Joey Carbery, Liam Coombes.
The Ulster men will be looking to back-up their impressive victory over Connacht in last weekend’s BKT United Rugby Championship opener as they travel to face Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday afternoon (1pm, live on Premier Sports).
With the Ireland internationals, involved in the historic series-winning tour of New Zealand over the summer, making a return to the Ulster jersey, the province will be looking to make a statement when they travel to face former Ulster Attack Coach Dwayne Peel’s side in Round 2 of the BKT URC.
The Ulster men will also be wearing the new 2022/23 alternate kit for the first time, which was launched earlier this week.
The Scarlets, who drew against Welsh rival Ospreys in their season opener, will be hoping to avenge the bonus-point win that Ulster secured over them in Belfast when the two teams last faced each other.
On the fixture, Ulster’s new Defence Coach, Jonny Bell, said:
“Scarlets is going to be a different game this week in many ways. They are a team that like to play a bit of rugby and, with Dwayne Peel knowing the Ulster squad inside and out, I have no doubt that he’ll have something up his sleeve.
“We need to be on our mettle against a very good side, and it’s going to be a challenge for us defensively, but that’s what we want.”
Sexton to make first Ulster start
Making his return from scoring a match-defining try in the final Test against New Zealand, Rob Herring will take his place in the front row this week alongside Andy Warwick, with 157 Ulster caps to his name, and tighthead prop, Marty Moore, who Head Coach, Dan McFarland, described as “one of the top scrummagers around in Ireland” in last week’s post-match media.
Joining captain, Alan O’Connor, in the engine room is Kieran Treadwell, who will be looking to bring what he’s learnt in the green jersey onto the pitch in this year’s BKT URC season.
Brothers, Matty Rea and Marcus Rea, retain their starting spots in the back row, and will this week play alongside returning, Nick Timoney, who has impressed on an international stage since scoring a try against the USA in his Ireland debut last summer.
Ulster Rugby Academy graduate, Aaron Sexton, will make his first start for the province, as Michael Lowry is in action again at full-back, alongside Jacob Stockdale in the back three.
Stuart McCloskey and Luke Marshall, who combined so impressively for the first try last weekend, are retained in midfield.
Completing the starting XV for this week are the familiar pairing of John Cooney and Billy Burns at scrum-half and fly-half respectively.
Back-row Sean Reffell, who joined during the summer, is set to earn his first Ulster cap off the bench. Declan Moore, Eric O’Sullivan, Sam Carter and returning Tom O’Toole complete the forward cover, while backs Dave Shanahan, Angus Curtis and Craig Gilroy are also included in the replacements.
Ulster team to play Scarlets, BKT United Rugby Championship Round 2, Saturday 24 September at Parc y Scarlets (KO 1pm), live on Premier Sports and URC.tv.
(15-9): Michael Lowry, Aaron Sexton, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, John Cooney;
(1-8): Andy Warwick, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor (Captain), Kieran Treadwell, Matty Rea, Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney.
Replacements: Declan Moore, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Sam Carter, Sean Reffell, Dave Shanahan, Angus Curtis, Craig Gilroy.
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