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Fresh from their back-to-back Heineken Champions Cup victories over Northampton, Leinster boss Leo Cullen has shaken up his selection.
There is a return from injury for Sean Cronin who makes his first appearance of the season, while Tommy O’Brien will make his senior debut in the centre.
Debutant O’Brien is joined in the centre by Robbie Henshaw who is named in the number 12 jersey. The 21-year-old has previously represented Ireland under-20s (five caps) and Leinster A, while he plays with UCD in the Energia All-Ireland League.
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The RugbyPass Alternative Commentary team on whether Conor Murray is still Ireland’s No1 scrum-half
He is a former Leinster schools 110-metre hurdle champion while his father and sister represented Ireland in athletics.
The back three, meanwhile, includes Rob Kearney at full-back just days after the veteran was left out of new Ireland coach Andy Farrell’s first squad selection.
‘I always wanted to try being a head coach and give it a go, but I was never tripping over myself to do it’
– @dan10mcfarland talks to @heagneyl about @UlsterRugby, @JCooney09, @ChampionsCup and the arrival on Saturday of @Harlequins at the Kingspanhttps://t.co/GVa10gOMX9
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 7, 2019
Alan O’Connor is set to make his 100th appearance for an Ulster side that is much-changed from the XVs that defeated Harlequins on successive Champions Cup Saturdays.
Three academy prospects – Jack Regan, Azur Allison and Stewart Moore – are set to earn their first senior cap if called upon from the bench, as is sub-academy back three, Ethan McIlroy.
LEINSTER: 15. Rob Kearney; 14. Fergus McFadden, 13. Tommy O’Brien, 12. Robbie Henshaw, 11. Cian Kelleher; 10. Harry Byrne, 9. Jamison Gibson-Park; 1. Peter Dooley, 2. Sean Cronin, 3. Andrew Porter, 4. Scott Fardy (capt), 5. Josh Murphy, 6. Will Connors, 7. Scott Penny, 8. Max Deegan. Reps: 16. Bryan Byrne, 17. Cian Healy, 18. Jack Aungier, 19. Oisin Dowling, 20. Josh van der Flier, 21. Hugh O’Sullivan, 22. Ciaran Frawley, 23. Conor O’Brien.
ULSTER: 15. Rob Lyttle; 14. Craig Gilroy, 13. Matt Faddes, 12. Angus Curtis, 11. Angus Kernohan; 10. Bill Johnston, 9. David Shanahan; 1. Andrew Warwick, 2. Adam McBurney, 3. Tom O’Toole, 4. David O’Connor, 5. Alan O’Connor (capt), 6. Matthew Rea, 7. Nick Timoney, 8. Greg Jones. Reps: 16. John Andrew, 17. Kyle McCall, 18. Ross Kane, 19. Jack Regan, 20. Azur Allison, 21. Jonny Stewart, 22. Stewart Moore, 23. Ethan McIlroy.
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