Its a busy weekend for Irish provinces in the Rabo Pro12, considering the indifferent start from all four provinces we may see four wins this weekend.
Below are the starting teams, with Brian O’Driscoll, Paul O’Connell, Rory Best and Tommy Bowe all set to play this weekend.
Munster v Newport Gwent Dragons – Musgrave Park, Saturday, 28th September, (ko6.45pm).
Head Coach Rob Penney has named Paul O’Connell on the reserve bench.
Following a promising first outing in the league against Edinburgh James Cronin has been selected to start at loosehead prop alongside Damien Varley and John Ryan in the front row. Keith Earlsshifts in from the wing to start in the number 13 jersey in a new centre partnership with Ivan Dineen. Felix Jones is also in line to make his first appearance of the season after recovering from shoulder surgery as he is named amongst the substitutes.
Munster: Johne Murphy; Andrew Conway, Keith Earls, Ivan Dineen, Simon Zebo; JJ Hanrahan, Cathal Sheridan; James Cronin, Damien Varley, John Ryan; Donncha O’Callaghan, Dave Foley; Peter O’Mahony (Capt.), Sean Dougall, Paddy Butler.
Replacements: Mike Sherry, David Kilcoyne, Stephen Archer, Paul O’Connell, CJ Stander, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Felix Jones.
The Leinster team to face the Cardiff Blues in Friday night’s RaboDirect PRO12 clash in the RDS (KO:7.35pm)
Brian O’Driscoll has been named at outside centre for the visit of the Welsh side and he will make his 174th Leinster appearance in a side which includes three fellow British & Irish Lions in Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney.
In a further boost, Ireland back Fergus McFadden and second row Quinn Roux have recovered from their respective injuries to also take their places in the starting XV.
Ian Madigan starts at out-half and will partner fellow Ireland international Isaac Boss at half-back, with Noel Reid partnering O’Driscoll at centre.
Heaslip, who will make his 167th appearance in Leinster colours, is named in the back-row by Rhys Ruddock (earning his 62nd cap) and Dominic Ryan (his 49th).
Ireland prop Mike Ross is named on the replacements bench alongside the likes of Jimmy Gopperth and Jordi Murphy.
Leinster team to face Cardiff: (15-9): R Kearney; F McFadden, B O’Driscoll, N Reid, D Kearney; I Madigan, I Boss; (1-8) C Healy, S Cronin, M Moore, D Toner, Q Roux, R Ruddock, D Ryan, J Heaslip (capt).
Ulster v Benetton Treviso at Ravenhill Friday night (kick off 19:05).
British and Irish Lions, Rory Best and Tommy Bowe, have been selected by Ulster Head Coach, Mark Anscombe, for the Province’s RaboDirect PRO12 match against Benetton Treviso at Ravenhill tomorrow night (kick off 19:05).
In total there are 11 Ireland internationals in the starting XV in a side that sees seven personnel changes and three positional switches to the team that beat Connacht in the Sportsground last Saturday.
Craig Gilroy starts at full back and is joined in the back three by Bowe who starts on the right wing and Michael Allen who retains his place on the left flank.
Jared Payne moves from 15 to outside centre where he is partnered by Luke Marshall. Paddy Jackson starts at outhalf, while Paul Marshall replaces Ian Porter at nine.
Captain Rory Best starts at hooker alongside Ricky Lutton and Tom Court in the front row. Iain Henderson keeps his place in the second-row, buts starts at 4, with Dan Tuohy wearing the Number 5 jersey.
In the backrow, Robbie Diack is selected at blindside with Roger Wilson moving to Number 8. Chris Henry keeps his place at openside.
Commenting on his selection, Ulster winger, Tommy Bowe, said: “It is great to be back. It has been a tough old pre-season with my wrist injury but I am delighted to be playing, delighted to be back fit again and looking forward to my first game at Ravenhill with the two new stands up.”
Ulster XV and replacements to face Benetton Treviso, RaboDirect PRO12, Ravenhill,Friday 27th September (kick off 19:05); (15-9): C Gilroy, T Bowe, J Payne, L Marshall, M Allen, P Jackson, P Marshall; (1-8): T Court, R Best (Captain), R Lutton, I Henderson, D Tuohy, R Diack, C Henry, R Wilson; Replacements (16-23): R Herring, C Black, B Ross, L Stevenson, N Williams, M Heaney, J McKinney, D Cave.
Connacht yet to name team for Saturdays match