Connacht name team for PRO12 final

Connacht Head Coach Pat Lam has named his match day squad to take on Leinster Rugby in the Guinness PRO12 final tomorrow.
For the first time all season, the Connacht coach has made no changes to the match day 23 from the last fixture.
Galway man John Muldoon will captain the side in his 275th game for the province and is joined in the back row by flankers Eoin McKeon and Jake Heenan.
Finlay Bealham and Ultan Dillane, two of five Connacht players named this week in the Ireland squad for the June tour to South Africa, start up front. Tighthead Bealham is the only player to have featured in all 31 games for the province this season.
Ireland internationals Kieran Marmion and Robbie Henshaw are named in the backline with AJ MacGinty once again handed the reigns at outhalf. Niyi Adeolokun – last weekend’s try scorer against Glasgow Warriors – lines out on the right wing.
Commenting on the upcoming game, Pat Lam said:
“It’s exciting that this is the first time in 31 games that we’ve been able to name the same match day squad from one week to the next. These 23 players are the fortunate ones who have earned the opportunity to wear the jersey and represent their team mates and the whole of Connacht in our first final.
“Preparation continues to be our big focus this week. We know how tough it will be against Leinster who have a huge amount of experience in finals rugby. But we know that if we stick to our structures and systems and channel all the emotion and physicality in to our performance, we have a real chance of making history.”
Connacht team to face Leinster Rugby, Saturday 28th May, BT Murrayfield,5:30pm
15 Tiernan O’Halloran
14 Niyi Adeolokun
13 Robbie Henshaw
12 Bundee Aki
11 Matt Healy
10 AJ MacGinty
9 Kieran Marmion
1 Ronan Loughney
2 Tom McCartney
3 Finlay Bealham
4 Ultan Dillane
5 Aly Muldowney
6 Eoin McKeon
7 Jake Heenan
8 John Muldoon (captain)
16 Dave Heffernan
17 JP Cooney
18 Rodney Ah You
19 Andrew Browne
20 Sean O’Brien
21 John Cooney
22 Shane O’Leary
23 Peter Robb
Leinster Rugby Head Coach Leo Cullen has also named his team.

There are two changes from the starting XV that accounted for Ulster in the Play-Offs last Friday with Isa Nacewa and Devin Toner missing out and a further change on the bench.

Captain Isa Nacewa has been ruled out with an arm injury suffered in the game against Ulster. While that injury came back clear from the initial x-ray, a subsequent scan on Monday showed damage had been done to an older injury and in particular to one of the screws that he has in the plate in his arm which affected his ability to grip. As a result Jamie Heaslip, the club vice-captain, will lead the team.

With Nacewa absent from the number 15 jersey, Rob Kearney returns from the ankle injury suffered in the Round 22 game against Benetton Treviso. His brother Dave continues on the right wing, with Luke Fitzgerald on the left.

Ben Te’o will play his last game for Leinster in the centre with Academy centre Garry Ringrose outside him once again. Eoin Reddan will win his 140th cap in Leinster colours at scrumhalf with Johnny Sexton at 10.

In the pack Jack McGrath, Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross, who were all announced in Joe Schmidt’s Ireland squad to tour South Africa during the week, have been named in the front row once again. Ross Molony and Mick Kearney will pack down behind them in the second row.

In the back row, Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy and Captain Jamie Heaslip complete the pack.

With Molony starting, Hayden Triggs comes on to the bench in line to win his 15th cap with Luke McGrath also in line to win his 50th cap should he be introduced at any stage.

LEINSTER (Leinster caps in bracket):

15. Rob Kearney (175)
14. Dave Kearney (102)
13. Garry Ringrose (21)
12. Ben Te’o (39)
11. Luke Fitzgerald (153)
10. Johnny Sexton (125)
9. Eoin Reddan (139)
1. Jack McGrath (94)
2. Richard Strauss (130)
3. Mike Ross (134)
4. Ross Molony (22)
5. Mick Kearney (8)
6. Rhys Ruddock (112)
7. Jordi Murphy (79)
8. Jamie Heaslip (216) CAPTAIN

16. Sean Cronin (113)
17. Peter Dooley (20)
18. Tadhg Furlong (50)
19. Hayden Triggs (14)
20. Jack Conan (30)
21. Luke McGrath (49)
22. Ian Madigan (146)
23. Zane Kirchner (64)