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Published: 12:25 | 19/2/16

Cullen rings the changes


Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made eight changes to the side that defeated Zebre for Saturday's Guinness PRO12 clash with Cardiff Blues.

Cullen welcomes back some Irish internationals from RBS Six Nations duty for the trip to Cardiff Arms Park, with Fergus McFadden starting on the right wing after featuring against France.

He is joined in the back three by Isa Nacewa and Zane Kirchner, while Ben Te'o and Garry Ringrose continue their midfield partnership.

Ian Madigan and Eoin Reddan both return to take their place in the half-back line.

Cian Healy is retained in the front row and is joined by Sean Cronin and Tadhg Furlong with Mick Kearney making his debut in the second row alongside Hayden Triggs.

Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy and Jack Conan complete the pack.

Leinster (XV v Cardiff): Z Kirchner; F McFadden, G Ringrose, B Te'o, I Nacewa; I Madigan, E Reddan; C Healy, S Cronin, T Furlong, M Kearney, H Triggs, R Ruddock, J Murphy, J Conan.

Replacements: R Strauss, P Dooley, M Ross, T Denton, D Leavy, N McCarthy, N Reid, A Byrne.

Connacht, meanwhile, have made five changes to the team that defeated Dragons for the trip to Zebre.

Ireland international Kieran Marmion returns to the hack-back line where joins AJ MacGinty with Niyi Adeolokun, Niyi Adeolokunn and Matt Healy making up the back three. Bundee Aki and Craig Ronaldson start in the centre.

Finlay Bealham takes his place in the front row where he is hoined by Tom McCartney and Denis Buckley as Ben Marshall locks down with Aly Muldowney. John Muldoon, Jake Heenan and Eoin McKeon complete the pack.

Connacht (XV v Zebre): T O'Halloran; N Adeolokun, B Aki, C Ronaldson, M Healy; AJ MacGinty, K Marmion; D Buckley, T McCartney, F Bealham, B Marshall, A Muldowney, J Muldoon, J Heenan, E McKeon.

Replacements: D Heffernan, R Loughney, R Ah You, G Naoupu, E Masterson, C Blade, P Robb, D Poolman.

Roger Wilson will make his 200th appearance for Ulster when they welcome Scarlets to Kingspan Stadium on Sunday.

Wilson, who made his Ulster debut in September 2003 against Neath-Swansea Ospreys, will start in the back row alongside Chris Henry and Robbie Diack.

Alan O'Connor and Franco van der Merwe will continue in the second row as John Andrew makes his first senior start in the front row. He is joined by Andy Warwick and Ricky Lutton.

Paddy Jackson will captain the side and he will start alongside Paul Marshall at half-back with Luke Marshall returning to the centre alongside Darren Cave.

The back three of Craig Gilroy, Jacob Stockdale and Stuart Olding remains unchanged.

Ulster (XV v Scarlets): S Olding; C Gilroy, D Cave, L Marshall, J Stockdale; P Jackson, P Marshall; A Warwick, J Andrew, R Lutton, A O'Connor, F van der Merwe, R Diack, C Henry, R Wilson.

Replacements: J Murphy, K McCall, B Ross, P Browne, C Ross, R Pienaar, I Humphreys, S Arnold.


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