Ulster have made four changes for the crucial match against Leinster at Ravenhill tomorrow night. (KO 7.35pm)
This is a must win match for Dan McFarland‘s side if they want to qualify for the PRO14 final at the end of the month. Leinster currently sit six points ahead of Ulster so a try bonus point along with the visitors picking up no match points would be the ideal outcome.
Eric O’Sullivan and Tom O’Toole start in the front row while Marcell Coetzee returns to the back row after injury. Robert Baloucoune will make his first start of the season on the right wing.
Despite absences due to the Six Nations, Leinster still have a formidable side named. Ross Byrne takes the 10 shirt after starting 13 in the match between these sides in January while Josh van der Flier and Rhys Ruddock are released from Ireland to play in the match.
Leo Cullen has named an experienced side with an average age of 28, compared to Ulster’s average age of 26. Twenty-one year old Scott Penny has an incredible try scoring record in the blue shirt crossing nine times in eight games this season and 24 tries in 30 Leinster career appearances. He matches up with Coetzee tomorrow night. Along with Ruddock and van der Flier, Leinster have a fantastic back row line up.
Devin Toner has caused Ulster problems in the past at the lineout and is partnered by Australian international Scott Fardy in the second row. Historically lineout has not been something that Ulster have done well, however they have had a very settled lineout this season averaging a 91% success rate according to the PRO14 website – the best in the league this season. Leinster’s is 87% and the 5th best in the league.
Ulster haven’t had a great record against Leinster in the recent past, winning just two matches of the last ten meetings and one in the last six. At Ravenhill since 2010, Ulster have won five of the ten matches played between the sides. The last meeting between the sides saw Leinster hold Ulster tryless, the first side to do it since the Scarlets in September 2018.
|30-3-19||Champions Cup||away||Lansdowne Road||Romain Poite||18||21|
|29-8-20||PRO14||home||Lansdowne Road||George Clancy||10||28|
|12-9-20||PRO14||away||Lansdowne Road||Andrew Brace||5||27|
The man in the middle
Frank Murphy takes charge of his 42nd competitive game in the PRO14 on Saturday evening, but it will be just the fourth time he has officiated Ulster. With over 100 appearances under the belt as a player for Connacht, he took charge of Ulster v Connacht back in August which resulted in a win for the western province. He was also the referee for Ulster’s 22-19 semi final win in Murrayfield at the start of September.
|Michael Lowry||15||Max O’Reilly|
|Robert Baloucoune||14||Cian Kelleher|
|James Hume||13||Jimmy O’Brien|
|Stuart McCloskey||12||Rory O’Loughlin|
|Jacob Stockdale||11||Dave Kearney|
|Ian Madigan||10||Ross Byrne|
|John Cooney||9||Luke McGrath (C)|
|Eric O’Sullivan||1||Ed Byrne|
|John Andrew||2||James Tracy|
|Tom O’Toole||3||Michael Bent|
|Alan O’Connor||4||Devin Toner|
|Kieran Treadwell||5||Scott Fardy|
|Nick Timoney||6||Rhys Ruddock|
|Jordi Murphy (C)||7||Josh van der Flier|
|Marcell Coetzee||8||Scott Penny|
|Adam McBurney||16||Seán Cronin|
|Andrew Warwick||17||Peter Dooley|
|Marty Moore||18||Thomas Clarkson|
|Cormac Izuchukwu||19||Ross Molony|
|Sean Reidy||20||Josh Murphy|
|Alby Mathewson||21||Rowan Osborne|
|Stewart Moore||22||Jamie Osborne|
|Rob Lyttle||23||Jack Dunne|