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Pienaar starts at out-half for Ulster, Darragh Leader starts for Connacht

Updated: Friday, 21 Feb 2014 15:00 | Comments

Ruan Pienaar moves to out-half for Ulster
Ruan Pienaar moves to out-half for Ulster

Ruan Pienaar will start at out-half for Ulster against Benetton Treviso at Stadio di Monigo in the RaboDirect PRO12 on Sunday, kick-off 2pm.

Pienaar is partnered in the halfbacks by Paul Marshall, who makes his first Ulster start since December.

Darren Cave switches from inside-centre back to his more familiar role at outside-centre, with Jared Payne, Craig Gilroy and Luke Marshall also named in the backline.

Up front, Ricky Lutton starts at tighthead, with Rob Herring named at hooker and Tom Court selected at loosehead.

Johann Muller captains the side from the second row where he is joined by Lewis Stevenson, who has recovered from the neck injury that he sustained against Ospreys.

Robbie Diack, Sean Doyle and Roger Wilson are all named in the backrow.

Meanwhile, John Afoa has returned to New Zealand due to a family bereavement and Nick Williams was unavailable for selection.

Ulster: J Payne, C Gilroy, D Cave, L Mar shall, M Allen, R Pienaar, P Marshall; T Court, R Herring, R Lutton, J Muller (capt), L Stevenson, R Diack, S Doyle, R Wilson.

Replacements: N Annett, C Black, A Macklin, N McComb, M McComish, M Heaney, R Andrew, R Scholes.

Darragh Leader

Connacht coach Pat Lam has had to make three personnel changes to his team to their match against Zebre at Stadio XXV Aprile on Sunday, kick-off 4.30pm.

Galway-born Darragh Leader, who made an appearance from the bench last week, is named at full-back, while Dan Parks replaces an injured Craig Ronaldson at out-half.
 
The only change in the pack comes with the introduction of academy forward Eoghan Masterson , who slots into openside flanker to link up with Andrew Browne and captain John Muldoon in the back row.

This is the second senior cap for 20-year-old Masterson who made his debut at Number 8 against the Scarlets in November.

Changes on the bench include a call-up for Academy prop Finlay Bealham and veteran outhalf Miah Nikora following his return from long-term injury.
 
Robbie Henshaw trained with the Ireland squad all week and remains on international duty at the weekend. 
 
Speaking about the team selection and the upcoming game, Lam said: "With injuries from last week, we've been forced to make some frontline changes but again it's a brilliant opportunity for our young Academy players Darragh Leader, Eoghan Masterson and Finlay Bealham to step up and make their mark.
 
"There is a real mixture of youth and experience in this Connacht side but it's also pleasing that we can name 20 Irish qualified players in a squad of 23.”

Connacht: D Leader, T O'Halloran, E Griffin, D McSharry, F Carr, D Parks, K Marmion, D Buckley, J Harris-Wright, R Ah You, M Swift, M Kearney, A Browne, E Masterson, J Muldoon (capt).
 
Replacements: D Heffernan, F Bealham, JP Cooney, A Muldowney, G Naoupu, P O'Donohoe, M Nikora
D Poolman

Coach Rob Penney has made six changes to the Munster side that beat Zebre 36-8 last weekend for Sunday’s clash against Ospreys at Liberty Stadium, kick-off 4pm.

Donnacha Ryan, Tommy O'Donnell and Felix Jones have all returned from the Ireland camp to start for Munster, while Dave Kilcoyne has also been released and is named on the bench.

 James Downey comes into the side to make his 40th Munster appearance, with Casey Laulala drafted into the starting XV to form a solid centre pairing.

Andrew Conway starts on the right wing in place of Gerhard van den Heever and Ian Keatley shifts from centre to out-half, with Cathal Sheridan maintaining his place at scrum-half.

Jones starts at full-back with Simon Zebo, who has four tries in his last three appearances, on the left wing.

There's an unchanged front-row as James Cronin, Duncan Casey and BJ Botha keep their places.

Dave Foley comes into the team to partner Ryan in the second-row with James Coughlan captaining the side.

Tommy O'Donnell and Sean Dougall, making his first start since injuring his ankle against Connacht in December, complete a dynamic back-row.

Munster: F Jones, A Conway, C Laulala,  J Downey, S Zebo, I Keatley, C Sheridan;  J Cronin, D Casey, BJ Botha, D Ryan, D Foley; T O'Donnell, S Dougall, J Coughlan (capt).

Replacements: G Slattery, D Kilcoyne, S Archer, D O'Callaghan, CJ Stander, D Williams, JJ Hanrahan, D Hurley.

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