Pro14: Leinster v Connacht
Venue: The RDS, Dublin Date: Saturday, 22 December Kick off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Score Upgrades and match Accounts on BBC Sport website

Leinster and Connacht have both made 1-2 changes out of their European wins last week for Saturday’s Pro14 game.

Leo Cullen retains just backs Adam Byrne and Rory O’Loughlin plus flanker Dan Leavy because he chooses a largely second string Leinster line up.

Johnny Sexton is among 11 Ireland internationals who are rested.

Connacht look nearer to full strength together with internationals Tiernan O’Halloran, Ultan Dillane and Finlay Bealham included for the RDS competition.

Darragh Leader, Cian Kelleher and Gavin Thornbury are retained from their last European Challenge Cup win in Perpignan while Ireland centre Bundee Aki is named on the bench.

Jack Carty and Caolin Blade Go Back to the Half Back roles with Bealham linking Denis Buckley and Tom McCartney in a strong front row.

Leinster also have an entirely altered Front-row as Peter Dooley, Michael Bent and Bryan Byrne substitute Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong and Sean Cronin, with all the latter termed on the bench.

Skipper Rhys Ruddock, who captained Ireland in their final November win over USA, unites Leavy and emerging talent Caelan Doris from the Leinster back row while Mick Kearney partners Scott Fardy at lock.

With scrumhalf Luke McGrath also rested, Jamison Gibson-Park forms the halfback venture with Ross Byrne.

Youngster Hugo Keenan is given his 3rd start of season with the other Academy player Conor O’Brien named at centre along side O’Loughlin, who was man of the match in last weekend’s Champions Cup win over Bath.

Additionally dropping out from the Bath game are Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Devin Toner, James Ryan, Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan.

Leinster forged Bath 42-15 last weekend together with Connacht winning 36-21 in France.

Leinster: Keenan; A Byrne, O’Loughlin, O’Brien, D Kearney; R Byrne, Gibson-Park; Dooley, B Byrne, Bent; M Kearney, Fardy; Ruddock (capt), Leavy, Doris.

Connacht: O’Halloran; Kelleher, Godwin, Farrell, Leader; Carty, Blade; Buckley, McCartney, Bealham; Dillane, Thornburg; Butler (capt), Fainga’a, Boyle.

Replacements: Delahunt, McCabe, Robertson-McCoy, Cannon, Masterson, Mitchell, Horwitz, Aki.


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