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Cardiff Blues 19:35 Ulster

Friday's Rabo Pro12 preview: Top of the table Leinster host Treviso

Last Updated: 17/04/14 1:34pm

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Brian O'Driscoll: Returns to the Leinster starting line-up

Brian O'Driscoll: Returns to the Leinster starting line-up

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Leaders Leinster welcome Treviso to the RDS in the RaboDirect Pro12 on Friday, while second-placed Ulster travel to fourth-placed Glasgow.

Veteran centre Brian O'Driscoll returns to the starting line-up for Leinster, who are aiming to end a two-match losing-run following defeats to Toulon and Ospreys.

There are two changes in the backs, with O'Driscoll returning at 13 in place of Gordon D'Arcy and Darragh Fanning starting on the left wing in place of Dave Kearney. Noel Reid retains his place at inside centre, while Rob Kearney continues at full-back and Zane Kirchner plays on the right wing.

There is no change in the half-backs with Jimmy Gopperth and Isaac Boss continuing at ten and nine respectively.

Jamie Heaslip captains the side from number eight and the pack sees no changes in the front-row with Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Martin Moore starting once again.

There is one change in the second-row with Mike McCarthy starting in place of Leo Cullen and a further two changes in the back row with Rhys Ruddock and Jordi Murphy starting in place of the injured Kevin McLaughlin and Shane Jennings.

Meanwhile, Marius Goosen has stuck with the same Treviso backline that smashed the Dragons in their bonus point 45-27 win at Stadio Monigo last weekend.

Scrum-half Tobias Botes wins his 100th appearance for the club up against the league leaders, while in the front-row, Matteo Muccignat comes in at loosehead, with Marco Fuser and Valerio Bernabo starting in the second-row - skipper Antonio Pavanello drops to the bench.

In Pavanello's absence, experienced Italy hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini captains the side, with Dean Budd also restored to the replacements bench.

Scotstoun clash

Glasgow welcome Pro12 title rivals Ulster to Scotstoun on Friday looking to make it five wins on the bounce in the competition.

Gregor Townsend has stuck with the same pack that shone in Limerick last time, with the back-row comprising the ball-carrying power of Josh Strauss and Ryan Wilson with the scavenging tenacity of Chris Fusaro.

He has shuffled the backline, with much-vaunted youngster Finn Russell trusted with the fly-half jersey ahead of Duncan Weir and Ruaridh Jackson.

Peter Horne makes his first start after recovering from the cruciate ligament damage that has kept him sidelined for some nine months at inside centre, and is partnered by Mark Bennett, returning from the Melrose Sevens.

It's a dangerous backline and a dangerous bench too, with Niko Matawalu named alongside Jackson and midfield convert Richie Vernon among the substitutes.

Opponents Ulster are shorn of several key names - talisman Ruan Pienaar is sidelined, as are Rory Best, Robbie Diack, Dan Tuohy and Roger Wilson. Jared Payne is still suspended following his controversial aerial antics against Saracens.

But the visitors are hardly short of quality. Missing five of the above, they destroyed Connacht in the Ravenhill sunshine last weekend where Paddy Jackson ran the show. Then there's World Cup-winning skipper Johann Muller, Tommy Bowe, returning to his strong-running, defence-splintering best after injury, and last week's hat-trick hero Andrew Trimble, in lethal form for club and country this season.

Mark Anscombe makes three changes this week, as his side look to avenge their last-gasp defeat to the Warriors at Ravenhill in the second game of the season.

Bowe, filling in at outside centre in the Connacht rout, moves back to the left wing, with Darren Cave coming into midfield to partner Luke Marshall, and British and Irish Lion Tom Court returning at loosehead.

With Diack out, Chris Henry - a stand-out performer in Ireland's Six Nations triumph - moves from openside to blindside, and Sean Doyle wears the number seven jersey. Stephen Ferris picked up an ankle injury in training this week that restricts him to the sidelines.

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