Connacht head coach Pat Lam is braced for a Zebre backlash on Saturday [4.30pm] after their trouncing at the hands of Leinster last week.

The Italians were hammered 52-0 as Leo Cullen's men ran in eight tries in an RDS cakewalk, but Lam is expecting a tough test on the road - and warned his side to be prepared for a battle.

"We've been over to play Zebre a fair few times in the last couple of years between Pro12 and Europe and they've always challenged us, particularly up front," said Lam.

"There's no doubt they will be fired up to make amends for their big defeat to Leinster last week. We've seen what they can do to teams this season, particularly on their home ground, so we will need to be right on top of our game mentally .

"While it's extremely tight at the top end of the table, we are solely focused on the quality of our performance tomorrow to get the points on offer in what will be another tough test on the road."

Lam has made five changes to the starting XV that earned an impressive bonus-point victory over Newport Gwent Dragons eight days ago. 

Ireland international Kieran Marmion returns to the backline and links up with AJ MacGinty at half back.

Wing Niyi Adeolokun will play his 10th game this season in a pacey back three with Tiernan O'Halloran and Connacht's top try scorer this season Matt Healy.

Finlay Bealham has also been released from Ireland squad duty this week to take his place in the front row, having featured in every game for Connacht this season.

Lock Ben Marshall has returned from the arm injury that has kept him sidelined since November to start in the second row alongside Aly Muldowney.

Galway-born Eoin McKeon is promoted from the bench to wear the number 8 jersey in a back row with Jake Heenan and captain John Muldoon.

Connacht: Tiernan O'Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun, Bundee Aki, Craig Ronaldson, Matt Healy, AJ MacGinty, Kieran Marmion, Denis Buckley; Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Ben Marshall, Aly Muldowney, John Muldoon [capt], Jake Heenan, Eoin McKeon

Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Ronan Loughney, Rodney Ah You, George Naoupu, Eoghan Masterson, Caolin Blade, Peter Robb, Danie Poolman



Leo Cullen has rung the changes for Leinster's trip to Cardiff Blues on Saturday afternoon [3.0pm].

Cullen has made eight alterations to the team that annihilated Zebre, with three in the backs and five in the pack, and will hand a debut to Clontarf man Mick Kearney in the second row.

Kearney signed for the province from Connacht last summer but has been sidelined with a toe injury. The lock will be partnered by Hayden Triggs.

Zane Kirchner continues at fullback with Fergus McFadden coming into the starting lineup after featuring for his country against against France Iast weekend.

On the left wing Isa Nacewa captains the side, while Ben Te'o and Garry Ringrose continue their midfield partnership. 

There is a new half-back pairing of Eoin Reddan and Ian Madigan - it will be Madigan's 140th appearance for the province. Cian Healy is the only player retained in the front row with Sean Cronin and Tadhg Furlong starting alongside him. 

Rhys Ruddock comes into the team at blind side flanker, with Jordi Murphy moving from the number eight shirt onto the openside. That means a welcome return from injury for Jack Conan, who has been out with an ankle injury for over three months. He last played against Wasps in the Champions Cup in November.

Leinster: Zane Kirchner, Fergus McFadden, Garry Ringrose, Ben Te'o, Isa Nacewa [capt], Ian Madigan, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin , Tadhg Furlong, Mick Kearney, Hayden Triggs, Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, Jack Conan

Replacements: Richardt Strauss,Peter Doole, Mike Ross,Tom Denton, Dan Leavy, Nick McCarthy, Noel Reid, Adam Byrne

Roger Wilson will make his 200th appearance for Ulster against Scarlets on Sunday [2.30pm].

Wilson, who made his Ulster debut in September 2003 against Neath-Swansea Ospreys, has played well over 300 professional club games after also enjoying a four-year stint with Northampton Saints, with whom he won the European Challenge Cup in 2009.

Rob Herring has a slight hamstring injury so John Andrew comes in for his first senior start at hooker. Herring's absence means that outhalf Paddy Jackson will skipper the side for the first time.

Andrew is joined in the front row by props Andy Warwick and Ricky Lutton, while Alan O'Connor and Franco van der Merwe continue in the second row.

Wilson will be joined in the back row by Robbie Diack and Chris Henry, who will start for the first time since December after fully recovering from injury. Nick Williams is unavailable for selection due to a shoulder injury.

Paul Marshall will partner Jackson at half back, with Luke Marshall returning from international duty to take a place at inside centre alongside Darren Cave, as Kiss continues to manage his midfield playing resources.

The back three of Craig Gilroy, Jacob Stockdale and Stuart Olding, who signed a contract extension earlier this week, remains unchanged from the win over Glasgow last week.

Hooker, Johnny Murphy, could make his competitive debut for the province after being named on the bench. Kyle McCall, Bronson Ross, Pete Browne and Clive Ross are the other forward replacements in Kiss' squad.

Ruan Pienaar, Ian Humphreys and Sammy Arnold are also included in the match day 23.

Ulster: Stuart Olding, Craig Gilroy, Darren Cave, Luke Marshall, Jacob Stockdale, Paddy Jackson [capt], Paul Marshall; Andrew Warwick, John Andrew, Ricky Lutton, Alan O'Connor, Franco van der Merwe, Robbie Diack, Chris Henry, Roger Wilson;

Replacements: Jonny Murphy, Kyle McCall, Bronson Ross, Peter Browne, Clive Ross, Ruan Pienaar, Ian Humphreys, Sammy Arnold.

Munster head coach Anthony Foley has made five changes for Friday night's Guinness Pro12 encounter away to Glasgow Warriors at Rugby Park in Kilmarnock.

Following their involvement in the opening two rounds of the Six Nations, Donnacha Ryan, Tommy O'Donnell and James Cronin have been made available to the province.

O'Donnell and Ryan make up two of three changes to the pack while Cronin is named amongst the replacements.

The only other change up front comes at hooker with Niall Scannell packing down between Dave Kilcoyne and John Ryan.

Captain Billy Holland makes the positional switch to start alongside Ryan in the second row for the first time this season, while in the back row, O'Donnell starts at 7 with Jack O'Donoghue moving to 6 and Robin Copeland remaining at 8.

The first of two changes across the backline comes in the half-backs with Tomás O'Leary resuming his partnership with Ian Keatley.

The second is seen in midfield where David Johnston comes in to form an all-academy centre pairing with Rory Scannell.

Ronan O'Mahony, Darren Sweetnam and Andrew Conway again make up the back-three.

Should he feature from the bench, academy back-row Conor Oliver will make his first competitive appearance for Munster, while Johnny Holland has recovered from a long-term hamstring injury to win inclusion in his first Pro12 squad since November 2014.

Munster: Andrew Conway; Darren Sweetnam, David Johnston, Rory Scannell, Ronan O'Mahony; Ian Keatley, Tomás O'Leary; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Donnacha Ryan, Billy Holland – capt.; Jack O'Donoghue, Tommy O'Donnell, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Mike Sherry, James Cronin, Mario Sagario, Dave Foley, Conor Oliver, Duncan Williams, Johnny Holland, Cian Bohane.