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Every time you pull on a Leinster jersey you are expected to

first_img Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article By Ryan Bailey Apr 27th 2019, 7:01 AM Share Tweet Email Subscribe Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloudSubscribe to our new podcast, The42 Rugby Weekly, here: Saturday 27 Apr 2019, 7:00 AM 18,419 Views 13 Comments ‘Every time you pull on a Leinster jersey, you are expected to win’ Ross Byrne captains his province for the first time this evening as Leo Cullen’s men bid to win their first Pro14 game in four. Short URL ANY ATTEMPTS TO dress this up as anything other than a dead-rubber were severely undermined when both Dan McFarland and Leo Cullen named their teams yesterday, but for those players involved on both sides, there will be no shortage of motivation.It is a pity neither Ulster or Leinster have anything tangible on the line in this inter-pro [KO 5.15pm, eir Sport/Premier Sports], with both provinces already assured of places in the Guinness Pro14 play-offs and thus keeping their powder dry for bigger games to come. Ross Byrne captains Leinster this evening. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHOIt all amounts to something of an underwhelming, if not anti-climactic, conclusion to the Pro14 regular season as Ulster and Leinster send out their ‘B’ teams for a derby fixture in Belfast, although the team selections do present a couple of piquant sub-plots.For starters, Ross Byrne will captain his native province for the first time in another endorsement of his growing leadership qualities at out-half, and his capacity to thrive under renewed responsibility.The 24-year-old has rebounded impressively from his omission from Joe Schmidt’s Six Nations squad and, having guided Leinster past tonight’s opponents in their epic Champions Cup quarter-final duel, has developed into much more than Johnny Sexton’s stand-in.Byrne will make his 69th appearance at Kingspan Stadium later and with 368 points to his name, will move above Alan McGowan into seventh in Leinster’s all-time point scorers list if he tacks on five against Ulster.The former St Michael’s College man is one of just four players Leo Cullen has retained from last week’s European semi-final win over Toulouse, with Michael Bent, Max Deegan and Caelan Doris handed starting opportunities here.The prospect of seeing the highly-rated Ryan Baird, who was part of Ireland’s U20 Grand Slam-winning squad, come off the bench for his senior debut is certainly an exciting one for Leinster fans.Having come up through Michael’s, the 19-year-old second row will become the 57th different player Leinster have used this season should he make an appearance, while Ronan Kelleher, Scott Penny and Paddy Patterson are among those also hoping for further exposure.Cullen, of course, has the luxury of wrapping his front-liners up in cotton wool before their Saracens battle on the back of Leinster’s utter dominance of Conference B, although the province have failed to win any of their last three outings in the Pro14.You have to go back to the 2014/15 season for the last time Leinster went four consecutive league games without a win, and no doubt last year’s performance at the Sportsground on the final weekend will have been referenced by Cullen and Stuart Lancaster this week.“Obviously, for individuals, it’s a very important game as they want to put their hand up for selection for the big games at the end of the season. The motivation is there,” Byrne says.“Every time you play for Leinster you’re expected to win, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing or where you’re playing. Every time you pull on a Leinster jersey, you want to win and are expected to win.”On a day of potential farewells, Darren Cave will captain the hosts as the sun begins to set on his 226-cap Ulster career, while Jack McGrath will come up against his future team-mates and Noel Reid and Munster-bound Nick McCarthy are most likely to line out in blue for the final time. Michael Lowry starts for Ulster. Source: Inpho/Billy SticklandAs with Leinster, Dan McFarland’s side already know their fate heading into round 21 on the back of their excellent away win at Edinburgh a fortnight ago and have the buffer of this week to prepare for the visit of Connacht in the quarter-finals next Saturday.Accordingly, it comes as no surprise that McFarland has opted to keep his leading lights — Iain Henderson, Jordi Murphy and John Cooney to name a few — out of the inter-pro firing line and instead give some of his squad players and academy prospects the reins and the opportunity to keep things ticking over.Michael Lowry has another platform to showcase his exciting talent at fullback having started the Champions Cup quarter-final between the sides last month, while David Busby makes his first appearance of the season after injury and Ireland U20 winger Angus Kernohan will win his 17th senior cap.In the pack, Ian Nagle, on loan from Leinster, has been given permission to play against his native province while academy back row Marcus Rea is in line for his debut off the bench. His brother, Matty, starts at six.Ulster’s only defeat in their last seven Pro14 games was the round 19 reversal to Glasgow, while the northern province have lost just once at their Ravenhill home in both the league and Champions Cup since February 2018, when they were beaten by Connacht.“Leinster are obviously top of the league comfortably and no matter what team Leinster put out they’ll challenge any team in the competition which is a credit to them,” Lowry said.“I think they’ve used 57 players or something and not one of them has looked out of place. They’re dangerous no matter what team they put out. It’s going to be a tough task.”Ulster:15. Mike Lowry14. David Busby13. Darren Cave (captain)12. Peter Nelson11. Angus Kernohan10. Johnny McPhillips9. Dave Shanahan1. Andy Warwick2. John Andrew3. Ross Kane4. Ian Nagle5. Alan O’Connor6. Matty Rea7. Clive Ross8. Sean ReidyReplacements:16. Adam McBurney17. Tommy O’Hagan18. Tom O’Toole19. Nick Timoney20. Marcus Rea21. Jonny Stewart22. Jack Owens23. Rob Lyttle.Leinster:15. Jimmy O’Brien14. Fergus McFadden13. Joe Tomane12. Noel Reid11. Dave Kearney10. Ross Byrne (captain)9. Nick McCarthy1. Jack McGrath2. Bryan Byrne3. Michael Bent4. Josh Murphy5. Oisin Dowling6. Max Deegan7. Will Connors8. Caelan Doris.Replacements:16. Ronan Kelleher17. Peter Dooley18. Vakh Abdaladze19. Ryan Baird20. Scott Penny21. Paddy Patterson22. Ciaran Frawley23. Barry Daly. Referee: George Clancy [IRFU].Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella are joined by Andy Dunne to get stuck into last weekend’s Champions Cup semi-finals.:last_img read more