Planet Rugby

Preview: Ulster v Leinster

20th December 2012 12:23

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Leinster s lock Leo Cullen

Skipper: Leo Cullen

Leo Cullen will captain an all-Ireland qualified XV in their PRO12 visit to Ravenhill where they take on Ulster.

Selection for the trip to Belfast mixes youth and experience. Gordon D'Arcy partners Brendan Macken at centre, with Eoin Reddan set to make his 74th appearance at scrum-half where he will link up with Ian Madigan for the Friday fixture.

Kevin McLaughlin returns to the back-row alongside fellow internationals Jamie Heaslip and Sean O'Brien, while tighthead prop Michael Bent will make his second start for the province after being named alongside hooker Sean Cronin and loosehead Cian Healy in the front-row.

Former CBS Naas back Adam Byrne is named on the bench and is in line to make his senior bow after impressing with two tries for the British & Irish Cup side in last weekend's victory over Jersey. Byrne features on a bench alongside the likes of Isaac Boss and Rhys Ruddock.

Meanwhile, Ulster head coach Mark Anscombe has made three personnel changes and two positional switches to the side that lost to Northampton for Friday's PRO12 game.

Following Tommy Bowe's knee injury against the Saints last week, Andrew Trimble switches to the right wing, with fellow Ireland international, Craig Gilroy on the left.

Luke Marshall starts at inside centre alongside Darren Cave with Paddy Wallace named on the bench. Paddy Jackson and Ruan Pienaar continue their half-back partnership, while full-back Jared Payne will be looking to add to his record of having scored five tries in nine games in the RaboDirect PRO12 so far this season.

Tom Court, Rory Best and John Afoa all start in an unchanged front row.

Second-row Dan Tuohy suffered a torn calf muscle against Northampton - his place is taken by Neil McComb. In the other changes to the pack, Nick Williams moves from blindside flanker to eight with Roger Wilson dropping to the bench. Robbie Diack starts at six.

Four players have been called up to the bench - Rob Herring, Adam Macklin, Alan O'Connor and Adam D'Arcy.

The teams:

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Chris Henry (c), 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Neil McComb, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 John Afoa, 2 Rory Best, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Alan O'Connor, 20 Roger Wilson, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Paddy Wallace, 23 Adam D'Arcy.

Leinster: 15 Noel Reid, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Fergus McFadden, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Leo Cullen (capt), 3 Michael Bent, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Andrew Goodman, 23 Adam Byrne.

Date: Friday, December 21
Kick-off: 19:05
Venue: Ravenhill
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland), Olly Hodges (Ireland)
Television match official: Dermot Moloney (Ireland)

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