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Preview: Leinster v Ulster

23rd December 2011 12:41

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SKY_MOBILE Robbie Diack

At eight: Robbie Diack

Ulster have named a second-string side that includes five debutants for their RaboDirect PRO12 trip to Dublin to face Leinster on Boxing Day.

With two games in the space of just four days, Brian McLaughlin has had to make full use of his entire squad over the festive period. Following the Boxing Day match in Dublin, Ulster will face Munster at a sold out Ravenhill on Friday, December 30.

Three debutants will start in the backline; centres Chris Farrell and Michael Allen, along with fullback Peter Nelson who has been very impressive for the Ravens in their British & Irish Cup campaign so far this season.

Elsewhere in the backs, Paul Marshall will be partnered at half-back by James McKinney, who will make his first start for the Province after a brief substitute appearance against the Ospreys in September. Simon Danielli returns to the team and will occupy the left wing berth, with Phoenix Academy winger Chris Cochrane lining out on the other flank.

Up front, Callum Black, who arrived in Belfast during the summer from Worcester, will make his senior Ulster debut at loosehead prop, while Academy player Ali Birch, a mainstay of the Ulster Ravens side, will make his first senior appearance at openside flanker. Birch is joined in the back row by Robbie Diack and Neil McComb, who while more used to the second row, will don the number six jersey.

Tim Barker and Lewis Stevenson form an experienced lock combination, while Black is joined by captain Nigel Brady, and Adam Macklin in the front row.

Meanwhile, Leinster's Gordon D'Arcy starts at centre in a starting line up which shows several changes to the side which defeated Bath in the Heineken Cup.

David Kearney starts on the right wing after scoring a brace of tries last time out in the PRO12 against Cardiff Blues earlier this month and he forms a back three with Fionn Carr and Luke Fitzgerald.

Eoin Reddan and Ian Madigan link up at half back while up front Cian Healy starts in the front row alongside fellow Ireland players Sean Cronin and Mike Ross. Shane Jennings leads the side.

Monday's game will be a sell out and there will be no tickets available to purchase on the day.

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Luke Fitzgerald, 14 David Kearney, 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Leo Auva'a, 7 Shane Jennings (capt), 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Damian Browne, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Jamie Hagan,, 19 Steven Sykes, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Eoin O'Malley, 23 Andrew Conway.

Ulster: 15 Peter Nelson, 14 Chris Cochrane, 13 Michael Allen, 12 Chris Farrell, 11 Simon Danielli, 10 James McKinney, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Ali Birch, 6 Neil McComb, 5 Lewis Stevenson, 4 Tim Barker, 3 Adam Macklin, 2 Nigel Brady (capt), 1 Callum Black.
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Jerry Cronin, 18 Tom Court, 19 James Simpson, 20 Conor Joyce, 21 Ian Porter, 22 Stuart Olding, 23 Conor Gaston.

Date: Monday, December 26
Kick-off: 17:30
Venue: RDS
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Trevor Collins (Ireland)
Television match official: Jude Quinn (Ireland)

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