Rainbow Cup: Teams up for Leinster v Ulster

Published Categorised as 2020-21, Leinster Rugby, Provincial Rugby Men, Rainbow Cup, Ulster Rugby Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Nathan Doak will be hoping for a start of the bench against Leinster.

Ulster have made 12 changes to their starting line up as they look to get their Rainbow Cup campaign off the ground against Leinster at the RDS on Friday evening, kick off 20:15.

In come Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Craig Gilroy, Billy Burns and David Shanahan to Ulster’s back line with Rob Lyttle the only player replaced to stay in the squad as he drops to the bench.

It’s all change up front as Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring and Marty Moore form a new front row. dam carer comes in, to join Iain Henderson in the second row, and Matty Rea, Sean Reidy and Nick Timoney form the back row. Off the seven forwards replaced only Tom O’Toole and Alan O’Connor are retained, both starting from the bench.

The above changes were probably pre-arranged at the start of this competition and with no one putting a hand up last week there wouldn’t have been any need for Dan McFarland to change his plans.

The bench probably sees the most interesting changes with youngster Nathan Doak and veteran Ian Madigan forming the replacement half backs. Brad Roberts and Greg Jones also join the squad on the bench with replacement prop Callum Reid retaining his bench spot from last week.

The opposition

Unlike Ulster, Leinster were able to bounce back from their European defeat with a comfortable victory at Connacht last week to keep their hopes of winning the Rainbow Cup alive. 16-0 down after 13 minutes, the PRO14 champions romped home inspired by a Hugo Keenan hat trick to score eight tries in a 50-21 win at the Sportsground. While Keenan sits this one out it’s a strong Leinster side with Caelan Doris and Jimmy O’Brien back from injuries to start. Luke McGrath will captain from scrum half.

Ulster have a torrid record against Leinster, losing their last five meetings with the last win coming in April 2019. That win is the only result in Ulster’s favour in the last ten matches. Away from home is just as grim with Ulster recording just one win since 2000 which came in March 2013.

DATECOMPVENUEREFEREEULSTERLEINSTER
20 DEC 19PRO14RDSGeorge Clancy42 (14)54 (33)
29 AUG 20PRO14 Lansdowne RoadGeorge Clancy10 (0)28 (13)
12 SEP 20PRO14 Lansdowne RoadAndrew Brace5 (5)27 (10)
8 JAN 21PRO14 RDSAndrew Brace12 (9)24 (5)
6 MAR 21PRO14RavenhillFrank Murphy19 (12)31 (24)

Teams

LEINSTERULSTER
Jimmy O’Brien15Jacob Stockdale
Jordan Larmour14Robert Baloucoune
Garry Ringrose13James Hume
Robbie Henshaw12Stuart McCloskey
Dave Kearney11Craig Gilroy
Ross Byrne10Billy Burns
Luke McGrath (C)9David Shanahan
Cian Healy1Eric O’Sullivan
Seán Cronin2Rob Herring
Tadhg Furlong3Marty Moore
Ryan Baird4Sam Carter
James Ryan5Iain Henderson (C)
Josh Murphy6Matty Rea
Josh van der Flier7Sean Reidy
Caelan Doris8Nick Timoney
Rónan Kelleher16Brad Roberts
Michael Milne17Callum Reid
Michael Bent18Tom O’Toole
Devin Toner19Alan O’Connor
Jack Conan20Greg Jones
Cormac Foley21Nathan Doak
Rory O’Loughlin22Ian Madigan
Tommy O’Brien.23Rob Lyttle

The FRU predicts: While many will regard this as a nothing game in a end of season kick about it’s still a game in which Ulster need to show some mettle. The team are on a run of three defeats against middling opposition and they need to make a response. With 7 of the Ulster side coming from Leinster you would hope they would have the incentive to make a point.

I still expect Leinster to win but Ulster need to keep it to less than 10 and can’t afford to be bullied out of the game for the fourth consecutive match.

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