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Published: 12:17 | 22/9/16

Leinster and Ulster make changes


Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made a number of changes to the team that beat Edinburgh for the visit of Ospreys to the RDS on Friday night.

In the absence of Rob Kearney, Zane Kirchner is retained at full-back and is joined in the back three by Isa Nacewa and Dave Kearney, as Noel Reid and Garry Ringrose start in the centre for the fourth game in a row.

Johnny Sexton makes his first appearance of the season having recovered from a shoulder injury and he takes his place at fly-half alongside Luke McGrath.

There are two changes to the front row as Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong come in to join Sean Cronin, while Mick Kearney will lock down in the second row for Devin Toner.

The final changes sees Josh van der Flier start at openside with Jordi Murphy named at blindside. Jamie Heaslip retains his place at number 8.

Leinster (XV v Ospreys): Z Kirchner; I Nacewa, G Ringrose, N Reid, D Kearney; J Sexton, L McGrath; C Healy, S Cronin, T Furlong, D Toner, M Kearney, J Murphy, J van der Flier, J Heaslip.

Replacements: J Tracy, J McGrath, M Ross, R Molony, R Ruddock, D Leavy, J Gibson-Park, J Carbery.

Les Kiss, meanwhile, has rung the changes for Ulster's trip to Scotstoun Stadium to take on Glasgow Warriors.

In total there are nine personnel and positional changes with Jared Payne making his first appearance of the season after being named at full-back.

The Irish international is joined in the back three by Charles Piutau, who will move to the left wing, and Louis Ludik, who will start on the right.

Stuart McCloskey is paired with Darren Cave in midfield as Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson are retained in the half-back line.

Andy Warwick and Rodney Ah You join Rob Herring in the front row, while Franco van der Merwe comes in to partner Alan O'Connor in the second row.

Iain Henderson gets the nod to start in the back row where he is joined by Sean Reidy and Roger Wilson.

Ulster (XV v Glasgow): J Payne; L Ludik, D Cave, S McCloskey, C Piutau; P Jackson, R Pienaar; A Warwick, R Herring, R Ah You, A O'Connor, F van der Merwe, I Henderson, S Reidy, R Wilson.

Replacements: R Best, C Black, R Kane, P Browne, C Ross, P Marshall, S Olding, R Lyttle.

There are six changes to the Connacht team for Saturday's Guinness PRO12 game against Scarlets.

Matt Healy returns to start on the wing in a back three that also includes Tiernan O'Halloran and Niyi Adeolokun as Bundee Aki and Eoin Griffin are named in the centre. Jack Carty and Kieran Marmion team up at half-back.

Finlay Bealham has been brought into the front row alongside Denis Buckley and Tom McCartney, with Quinn Roux getting the nod to lock down with Andrew Browne.

Jake Heenan makes his first appearance of the season and will join Ultan Dillane and John Muldoon in the back row.

Connacht (XV v Scarlets): T O'Halloran; N Adeolokun, B Aki, E Griffin, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, T McCartney, F Bealham, Q Roux, A Browne, U Dillane, J Heenan, J Muldoon.

Replacements: D Heffernan, R Loughney, JP Cooney, L Stevenson, E McKeon, C Blade, S O'Leary, C Kelleher.

Keith Earls has been passed fit to take his place in the Munster starting XV for the visit of Edinburgh to Thomond Park.

Earls was forced to miss last weekend's game against Newport Gwent Dragons due to a hamstring injury but he is available and will join Cian Bohane in the centre for Saturday's game.

Ian Keatley gets the nod to start at full-back with Darren Sweetnam and Ronan O'Mahony named on the wings, while Tyler Bleyendaal and Conor Murray team up in the half-back line.

Dave Kilcoyne will make his first start of the season in the front row, joining Niall Scannell and John Ryan as Jean Kleyn and Billy Holland are named in the second row.

Holland moves to the second row to accommodate the return of Dave O'Callaghan to the back row alongside Jack O'Donoghue and CJ Stander.

Munster (XV v Edinburgh): I Keatley; D Sweetnam, K Earls, C Bohane, R O'Mahony; T Bleyendaal, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, N Scannell, J Ryan, K Kleyn, B Holland, D O'Callaghan, J O'Donoghue, CJ Stander.

Replacements: D Casey, J Cronin, S Archer, D Ryan, C Oliver, D Williams, D Goggin, A Wootton.

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