URC Team News: Leo Cullen announces the changes for Leinster; Aki and Boyle miss Connacht

Leinster manager Leo Cullen has opted to rotate the squad that lost to the Sharks last weekend for this week’s test against the Stormers, introducing many of the 31-man touring squad who haven’t been there yet.

Academy scrum-half Cormac Foley will make his fourth appearance for the provinces for the first time, alongside Ciarán Frawley as a partner in full-backs.

Outside of them in midfield, Rory O’Loughlin moves from the wing to the centre, while Jamie Osborne keeps the number 13 shirt.

Max O’Reilly comes into play at full-back, flanked by Adam Byrne and fellow academy player Rob Russell.

John McKee and Thomas Clarkson remain at the top, joined by Ed Byrne in the loosehead position.

Fresh from his debut last week, Brian Deeny stays on the second row alongside Josh Murphy.

Rhys Ruddock leads the No. 8 squad, with Alex Soroka and Scott Penny completing the back row.

Michael Milne has been named among the substitutes as he hopes to make his first appearance of the season after recovering from injury.

There’s another opportunity for bench hooker Lee Barron, one of three players who made his debut against the Sharks last weekend. Flanker Seán O’Brien will also be on the bench for the first time this season.

The coaching staff will also feature Vakh Abdaladze, Jack Dunne, Nick McCarthy, Harry Byrne and Martin Moloney.

The Stormers have made three changes to continue their impressive run.

Warrick Gelant starts at full-back while Damian Willemse moves into center instead of Rikus Pretorius, who is out with a concussion.

Deon Fourie returns from injury to take his place on the scrum side, while the only other change to the starting line-up sees JJ Kotze in the Hooker in place of the injured Scarra Ntubeni, while Wilmar Arnoldi will make his DHL Stormers debut from the bench.

Also among the substitutes is veteran center Juan de Jongh, one of four players in the squad with over 100 caps for DHL Stormers.

Meanwhile, scrum-half Caolin Blade is leading a Connacht side as they attempt to become the first to achieve a clean win over South African sides and the first to win twice on South African soil to revisit last weekend’s win to tie against the Lions.

Bundee Aki and Paul Boyle are absent through injury from a side that has six changes from the side that beat the Lions last week, with Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Leva Fifita, Conor Oliver, Conor Fitzgerald and Tom Farrell all brought into the starting XI became.

Bealham forms an experienced front row with Denis Buckley and Dave Heffernan, while Jarrad Butler leads the No. 8 side with Cian Prendergast as a blindside flanker.
It’s a historic play for Monivea scrum-half blade, reaching 150 appearances for the club while Tom assists Daly Farrell in the middle.

The back three remains unchanged, so Mack Hansen starts again at full-back with wingers Alex Wootton and John Porch for company.

“Beating all four South African sides would be a tremendous achievement but we know we have a significant task ahead of us tomorrow,” said coach Andy Friend.

“The Sharks have named a squad full of Springbok internationals and will have a large and passionate fan base behind them in Durban.

“Nevertheless, the group took a lot of confidence from the win in Johannesburg and the atmosphere around the camp was really positive all week.”

Sharks coach Sean Everitt rewards the side that defeated Leinster by showing full confidence in their abilities, with the luck that no injury issues will hamper team selection continuity.

Connacht has won her last two URC games both away and with Benetton and with the Lions but has not won three straight games in the tournament since February 2021.

They have lost just one of their last four away games in the Championship, the 8-56 Tonking in Edinburgh in March, and won their last nine games against South African opponents since the Cheetahs beat them by a single point in Bloemfontein in March 2018.

striker – W Gelling agent; S. Senatla, R. Nel, D. Willemse, L. Zas; M Libbok, H Jantjies; s Captain Kitshoff, JJ Kotze, F Malherbe, A Smith, M Orie, D Fourie, H Dayimani, E Roos.

repetitions Arnoldi W, Harris B, Fouche N, Moerat S, Pokomela J, Dixon BJ, de Wet P, de Jongh J.

Leinster – M O’Reilly; A Byrne, J Osborne, R O’Loughlin, R Russell; C Frawley, C Foley; Byrne E, McKee J, Clarkson T, Deeny B, Murphy J, Soroka A, Penny S, Ruddock R capt.

reps – Barron L, Milne M, Abdaladze V, Dunne J, O’Brien S, McCarthy N, Byrne H, Moloney M.

Referee – Craig Evans (WRU)

Stormers – Leinster, DHL Stadium, Cape Town, 18:15

sharks – A barrel; Kok W, Tapuai B, Louw M, Mapimpi M; C Bosch, J Hendrikse; O Niche, B Mbonambi, T du Toit capt, L Roets, G Grobler, S Kolisi, H Venter, P Buthelezi.

repetitions: K van Vuuren, N Mchunu, K Mchunu, R Hugo, J Labuschagne, S Notshe, G Williams, B Chamberlain.

Connacht – M Hansen; J Porch, T Farrell, T Daly, A Wooton; Fitzgerald C, Blade C, Buckley D, Heffernan D, Bealham F, Thornbury G, Fifita L, Prendergast C, Oliver C, Butler J.

reps – Tierney-Martin D, Butler J, Duggan J, Aungier J, Murray N, Dowling O, Marmion K, Carty J, O’Halloran T.

Referee – Mike Adamson (SRU)

Sharks vs. Connacht, Kings Park, Durban, 4.05pm

https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/pro14/urc-team-news-leo-cullen-rings-the-changes-for-leinster-aki-and-boyle-miss-out-for-connacht-41600177.html URC Team News: Leo Cullen announces the changes for Leinster; Aki and Boyle miss Connacht

Fry Electronics Team

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