/ Rugby

Ulster's Jared Payne returns for PRO12 showdown with Leinster

Updated: Thursday, 01 May 2014 13:12 | Comments

Jared Payne is back in the Ulster XV Ian Madigan will start for Leinster at out-half against Ulster
Jared Payne is back in the Ulster XV Ian Madigan will start for Leinster at out-half against Ulster

Jared Payne will return from suspension as one of three changes to Ulster’s starting XV for their RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Leinster at Ravenhill on Friday evening, kick-off 19.30.

Mark Anscombe has named the 28-year-old at outside centre for the sold-out clash against the league leaders, which will also act as the official opening of the newly redeveloped Ravenhill Stadium.

Payne returns to the fold after serving a two-week suspension following his dangerous charge on Saracens full-back Alex Goode during their Heineken Cup quarter-final clash, for which the New Zealander was shown a red card after just five minutes of the game.

Other changes to the line-up from the loss to Glasgow Warriors two weeks ago include Andrew Warwick at tighthead and Roger Wilson, returning from injury, in the back row.

Roger Wilson

Ireland caps Paul Marshall, Paddy Jackson and Luke Marshall will play inside Payne, with Tommy Bowe, Andrew Trimble and Ricky Andrew continuing in the back three.

Warwick is joined in the front row by hooker Rob Herring and Tom Court, in what could be Court's last match for Ulster at Ravenhill. Retiring captain Johann Muller is again joined in the engine room by Iain Henderson.

Wilson’s inclusion at blindside flanker means Chris Henry switches to the other side of the scrum, while Nick Williams remains at the base.

International second row Dan Tuohy has returned from injury and is named among the replacements.

Niall Annett, Callum Black and Adam Macklin provide front-row support on the bench, with Sean Doyle covering the back row.

Michael Heaney, James McKinney and Darren Cave are selected as backline substitutes.

Muller, who is likely to make his final Ravenhill appearance on Friday night after announcing his intentions to retire at the end of the season, was keen to thank the people of Ulster for helping to make his time in the province so memorable.

Muller said: “It is no secret that the last four years are possibly the best of my rugby career.

"I have just enjoyed it so much. My family has been so happy in Belfast and the people of Northern Ireland have been absolutely outstanding to my family and I. We have loved it here.”

Ulster: 15 Ricky Andrew, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Tommy Bowe, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 1 Tom Court, 2 Rob Herring, 3 Andrew Warwick, 4 Johann Muller (captain), 5 Iain Henderson, 6 Roger Wilson, 7 Chris Henry, 8 Nick Williams;

Replacements: 16 Nick Annett, 17 Calum Black, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Dan Tuohy, 20 Sean Doyle, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 James McKinney, 23 Darren Cave.

The news from Dublin is that there are four changes in total to the Leinster team for the clash.

There is also a welcome return to the bench for Luke Fitzgerald.
 
The front and second rows are unchanged with Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Martin Moore lining up with Devin Toner and Mike McCarthy locking down behind. Cronin and Moore will win their 70th and 30th caps respectively.
 
In the back row there is one change with Shane Jennings coming in for Jordi Murphy. Rhys Ruddock starts at six and Jamie Heaslip captains the side from the base of the scrum.

Shane Jennings
 
Rob Kearney continues at fullback with Zane Kirchner on the right wing but there is a change on the left with Dave Kearney replacing man of the match from the Treviso game Darragh Fanning.
 
Gordon D'Arcy and Brian O'Driscoll are together once again with Noel Reid the one to make way for D'Arcy following his two-try performance last time out.

Gordon D'Arcy (centre) with Eoin Reddan (left) and Brian O'Driscoll (right)
 
Finally in the half-backs, Ian Madigan starts in place of Jimmy Gopperth with Isaac Boss beside him at nine.
 
With the situation at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 extremely tight, Leinster and Ulster both know that a win for either side would offer clarity as they enter the final weekend of the regular season.
 
In the corresponding fixture between the two sides in December at a sold out RDS, Leinster won with 13 points to spare on a scoreline of 19-6.

Jordi Murphy grabbed the only try of the game after 37 minutes with Jimmy Gopperth adding the extra points from the boot.

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14: Zane Kirchner, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Isaac Boss, 1 Cian Healy, 2 Sean Cronin, 3 Martin Moore, 4 Devin Toner, 5 Mike McCarthy, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 7 Shane Jennings, 8 Jamie Heaslip (captain).
 
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Mike Ross, 19 Leo Cullen, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Luke Fitzgerald.

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use