Leinster make eight changes for PRO12 semi-final against Ulster

Leinster's Fergus McFadden
Leinster's Fergus McFadden

The Leinster team to face Ulster in the second of the RaboDirect PRO12 play-offs on Saturday evening, (KO: 7.00pm) in the RDS has been named.

Coach Matt O’Connor has made eight changes in total from the 15 that started last weekend against Edinburgh and in doing so has selected the same pack – bar Mike McCarthy – that won in Ravenhill a fortnight ago.

As a result out go Jack McGrath, the injured Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross to be replaced by Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Martin Moore. Devin Toner comes in to the second row for Leo Cullen who reverts to the bench while South African Quinn Roux comes in to the pack in place of Mike McCarthy.

In the back row, Rhys Ruddock and Shane Jennings replace Sean O’Brien and Jordi Murphy. Jamie Heaslip – who captains the side from eight – is the only forward to have retained his spot from last week.

Shane Jennings who scored a try in the 20-22 win in Ravenhill two weeks ago is getting ever closer to a double century of Leinster caps and will make his 195th appearance on Saturday.

There is only one change to the backs with Eoin Reddan starting at scrumhalf having recovered from the shoulder injury that has sidelined him since the Heineken Cup game against Toulon.

Reddan will make his 100th appearance in the blue of Leinster on Saturday evening and to date has four tries to his name since joining from Wasps in 2010.

Ahead of the captain’s run in the RDS, coach Matt O’Connor said, “We have the utmost respect for the Ulster squad. Already this year we have had two incredibly physical and enthralling games against them and I have no doubt but that tomorrow will be no different. Training has gone very well and we are very excited by the challenge that this Ulster team will bring.”

O’Connor also reflected on the year to date with Leinster and where they are at, “This is where we wanted to be at the start of the year. We are at home in a semi-final having topped the table. Home advantage is crucial but it is up to us now to make sure that this advantage pays off.

“The players really can’t wait for tomorrow. A full house in the RDS is an electric atmosphere and they look forward to taking to the field and rising to the challenge from Ulster. At this time of the year and with the quality of the squad at their disposal, we will need to be at our very best.”


15: Rob Kearney

14: Fergus McFadden

13: Brian O’Driscoll

12: Gordon D’Arcy

11: Dave Kearney

10: Jimmy Gopperth

9: Eoin Reddan

1: Cian Healy

2: Sean Cronin

3: Martin Moore

4: Devin Toner

5: Quinn Roux

6: Rhys Ruddock

7: Shane Jennings

8: Jamie Heaslip CAPTAIN


16: Aaron Dundon

17: Jack McGrath

18: Mike Ross

19: Leo Cullen

20: Sean O’Brien

21: Isaac Boss

22: Ian Madigan

23: Zane Kirchner