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Dublin: 16 °C Wednesday 27 August, 2014

O’Driscoll retained for Leinster’s Edinburgh trip as Ulster welcome back Wallace

The Ulster centre will make his first Pro12 appearance in nine months when Zebre arrive at Ravenhill

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

LEINSTER AND ULSTER have made sweeping changes to their starting line-ups as they return to Pro12 action after a hectic Heineken Cup fortnight.

Leinster coach Matt O’Connor has opted to stick with Ian Madigan, Brian O’Driscoll and Luke Fitzgerald in his back-line for tomorrow’s trip to Edinburgh.

O’Driscoll will partner Noel Reid in the centre with Darragh Fanning named on the right wing having recently signed a contract extension with the province.

There is less of a familiarity with the faces up front, though Leo Cullen will captain the side alongside Tom Denton in the second row with Michael Bent again put in at loosehead prop allowing Martin Moore continuing his promising start to the season at tight-head.

Ulster meanwhile, have made nine changes to the side which claimed back-to-back bonus points against Treviso.

Paddy Wallace returns to Pro12 action after nine months recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament injury. The veteran playmaking centre has built up his match fitness with two 80-minute shifts for the Ulster Ravens.

Wallace will be partnered in the centre by Jared Payne with Michael Allen’s recall to the left wing pushing Craig Gilroy to the right.

Rory Best’s injury means former Ireland under 20 captain Niall Annett gets a chance to start as hooker with Callum Black and Ricky Lutton either side of him. Captain Johann Muller, Sean Doyle and Robbie Diack are retained in the pack.

Ulster (v Zebre): R Andrew, C Gilroy, J Payne, P Wallace, M Allen, J McKinney, R Pienaar:  C Black, N Annett, R Lutton, J Muller (Capt), L Stevenson, M McComish, S Doyle, R Diack;

Replacements:  R Herring, T Court, A Macklin, N McComb, C Joyce, M Heaney, P Nelson, D McIlwaine.

Leinster (v Edinburgh): Z Kirchner; D Fanning, B O’Driscoll, N Reid, L Fitzgerald; I Madigan, I Boss: M Bent, A Dundon, M Moore; L Cullen (Capt.), T Denton; K McLaughlin, S Jennings, J Murphy.

Replacements: J Tracy, J O’Connell, T Furlong, Q Roux, D Ryan, J Cooney, J Gopperth, B Macken.

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