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Dublin: 14 °C Wednesday 23 July, 2014

Brian O’Driscoll in for Pro12 decider but Sean O’Brien misses out

Joe Schmidt’s reign comes to an end against Ulster.

Image: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

DO YOU WANT the good news or the bad news, Leinster fans?

Brian O’Driscoll has been named in the province’s starting XV for tomorrow evening RaboDirect Pro12 final against Ulster.

Sean O’Brian has lost his race to be fit for the RDS showdown however. The Tullow native sustained a knee injury in the Amlin Challenge final win over Stade Francais last week. Shane Jennings starts at 7 in his stead.

As well as bidding a fond farewell to new Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt, the RDS crowd will also get the chance to say goodbye to Paris-bound Jonny Sexton and the retiring Ica Nacewa.

Ulster too have also named their side for the much-anticipated end to the rugby season. Fit-again John Afoa starting at tighthead is the only change to the XV that defeated the Scarlets a fortnight ago.

“It’s great to be able to welcome John back into the starting line-up,” says Ulster head 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.”

Leinster XV: R Kearney, F McFadden, B O’Driscoll, I Madigan, I Nacewa, J Sexton, I Boss, C Healy, R Strauss, M Ross, L Cullen (capt), D Toner, K McLaughlin, S Jennings, J Heaslip.

Replacements: S Cronin, J McGrath, J Hagan, Q Roux, R Ruddock, J Cooney, A Goodman, A Conway.

Ulster XV: J Payne, A Trimble, D Cave, S Olding, T Bowe, P Jackson, R Pienaar; T Court, R Best, J Afoa, J Muller (capt), D Tuohy, R Diack, C Henry, N Williams.

Replacements: R Herring, C Black, D Fitzpatrick, I Henderson, M McComish, P Marshall, M Allen, P Nelson.

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