Ulster v Leinster - RaboDirect PRO12 final match preview

Last Updated: 25/05/13 4:22pm

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Leinster will look to hand Joe Schmidt, Jonathan Sexton and Isa Nacewa the perfect send-off in Saturday's RaboDirect PRO12 final against Ulster.

Schmidt will leave the club after the match to take over the reins as Ireland coach, while Sexton is moving to Racing Metro and Nacewa is hanging up his boots.

Leinster go into the game on the back of their 34-13 Amlin Challenge Cup success over Stade Francais - although their previous bids to clinch the European-Celtic League play-off double have ended in disappointment.

Leinster, though, will be buoyed by the return of Brian O'Driscoll, while Schmidt has freshened up his pack.

Shane Jennings, Kevin McLaughlin, Leo Cullen, Richardt Strauss and Cian Healy are all handed starts - although Sean O'Brien has failed a fitness test on his bruised knee.

Great

Ulster finished the season on top of the table - and even recorded their first away win over Leinster in 14 years to banish the memories of last season's Heineken Cup final rout.

Ulster, who are chasing their first silverware in seven years, have made just the one change to their line-up following the semi-final win over the Scarlets.

All Blacks tighthead prop John Afoa has been passed fit to play, so he comes back in to the starting XV.

"It's great to be able to welcome John back into the starting line-up," said coach Mark Anscombe.

"John and players like Ruan (Pienaar) and Johann (Muller) have been part of World Cup winning squads. When the big moments come, they are cool heads under pressure and you can't put a price on that.

"When you put them together with our Ireland internationals and our excellent young players like Stuart Olding then you have a great mix."

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Tommy Bowe, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Johann Muller (c), 3 John Afoa, 2 Rory Best, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 Declan Fitzpatrick, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Michael Allen, 23 Peter Nelson.

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Ian Madigan, 11 Isa Nacewa, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Leo Cullen (c), 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Quinn Roux, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 John Cooney, 22 Andrew Goodman, 23 Andrew Conway.

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