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Munster

  • Penalty, O'Mahony, Zebo,
    Penalty goals: Keatley,
    Conversions: Keatley (3),
24 - 10

Ulster

  • Birch,
    Penalty goals: O'Connor,
    Conversions: Olding,
  • Guinness PRO12
  • 29th Dec 2012
  • KO 17:30
  • Att: 21,000

Munster v Ulster - RaboDirect PRO12 match preview

Last updated: 29th December 2012   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Craig Gilroy Ireland v Fiji 2012

Craig Gilroy: The Irishman retains his place in the Ulster XV for the clash at Thomond Park

Damien Varley Munster 2012

Damien Varley: The Munster man wants to finish 2012 by recording a famous win

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Teams

Ulster will be looking to break Leinster's best ever start to a PRO12 season with victory against local rivals Munster at Thomond Park.

The runaway leaders are well out in front of the opposition after recording their 11th straight win in the 27-19 success over Leinster at Ravenhill last Friday and will be looking to make it 12 by Saturday evening.

The Ulstermen have won all three games against fellow Irish provinces this season, but so far all those encounters have been at Ravenhill.

With a large contingent of players involved in an Ireland training camp in Dublin this weekend and with Ulster comfortably 14 points clear of Munster, Mark Anscombe has opted to use an all Irish-qualified squad - making a total of eleven changes to the starting XV.

Only Craig Gilroy and Luke Marshall in the backs, and Neil McComb and Robbie Diack in the forwards are retained from the side which beat Leinster.

Adam D'Arcy will make his first start of the season at fullback and will be joined in the back three by youngsters Chris Cochrane and Gilroy. Michael Allen will partner Luke Marshall in midfield, with Paul Marshall and Niall O'Connor forming a new half back combination.

Pack

Up front, Callum Black, Rob Herring and Adam Macklin make up an all new front row, while Lewis Stevenson has returned from an eight week injury lay off to partner McComb in the engine room. Roger Wilson will captain the team from number 8 and he will be ably assisted in the back row by Mike McComish and Diack.

Munster got back to winning ways after the disappointment of the Heineken Cup loss to Saracens with a hard-fought 16-12 win over Connacht at the Sportsground last weekend.

The Munstermen have only suffered one defeat in their last five fixtures, which came at the hands of Scarlets in November, while Ulster have not won at Thomond Park in the competition since 2009.

Full-back Denis Hurley will become the 25th Munster player to win 100 caps while Peter O'Mahony, Conor Murray, Simon Zebo and Ronan O'Gara all return as head coach Rob Penney makes a total of eight changes.

Although O'Mahony, Murray and Zebo start, O'Gara is named on the bench with Ian Keatley retaining the number 10 jersey though this time he'll start alongside Murray in place of Peter Stringer.

There's a return from injury for Damian Varley and Felix Jones (bench) while Donncha O'Callaghan and Billy Holland are the only combination up front who remain intact from a week ago.

Ulster: A D'Arcy, C Cochrane, M Allen, L Marshall, C Gilroy; N O'Connor, P Marshall, C Black, R Herring, A Macklin, L Stevenson, N McComb, R Diack, M McComish, R Wilson.


Replacements: N Annett, R Lutton, T Court, A O'Connor, A Birch, M Heaney, S Olding, R Andrew.

Munster: D Hurley; D Howlett, C Laulala, J Downey, S Zebo; I Keatley, C Murray; W du Preez, D Varley, BJ Botha; D O'Callaghan, B Holland; P O'Mahony, T O'Donnell, P Butler.


Replacements: M Sherry, M Horan, S Archer, Dave O'Callaghan, J Coughlan, P Stringer, R O'Gara, F Jones.

What they said...

Munster hooker Damien Varley

"Ulster are on an unbelievable roll, there is no doubt about that. But they have been growing for some time now. It has just clicked for them this season. Their win over Leinster last weekend was very impressive.

"They have some great players up there and they are running away with it at the top of the table.

"But it would be a great way for us to finish 2012 by winning against them. We have a few big weeks ahead of us, Cardiff follow this one and then we have the two Heineken Cup games, two must-win matches with bonus points and all that needed.

"There is a lot of rugby to be played this season but we are looking no further than Ulster tomorrow."

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Guinness PRO12 Table

Guinness PRO12 Table - December 21 2014
Pos Team P Pts
11 Zebre 10 9
Forthcoming Guinness PRO12 Fixtures
TimeFixture
Guinness PRO12
Sunday 21st December
Guinness PRO12
16:00Dragons vs Zebre
Friday 26th December
14:05Cardiff Blues vs Dragons
17:00Munster vs Leinster
18:45Ulster vs Connacht
Saturday 27th December
14:40Glasgow vs Edinburgh
17:15Ospreys vs Scarlets
Sunday 28th December
14:00Zebre vs Treviso
Thursday 1st January
14:05Newport Gwent D'gons vs Cardiff Blues
17:00Connacht vs Munster
Friday 2nd January
19:35Edinburgh vs Glasgow Warriors
Saturday 3rd January
14:00Treviso vs Zebre
14:40Leinster vs Ulster
17:05Scarlets vs Ospreys
Friday 9th January
19:35Connacht vs Edinburgh
19:35Glasgow vs Scarlets
Saturday 10th January
14:40Cardiff Blues vs Leinster
15:00Zebre vs Munster
Sunday 11th January
14:00Treviso vs Ulster
16:00Ospreys vs Newport Gwent D'gons
Wednesday 14th January
TBCLeinster vs Newport Gwent D'gons
TBCScarlets vs Connacht
TBCEdinburgh vs Ospreys
TBCUlster vs Benetton Treviso
TBCZebre vs Glasgow
TBCMunster vs Cardiff Blues

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Phil Edwards

Phil Edwards

Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com