Showdown between the provinces

Connacht captain John Muldoon will play his 300th game for the western province when they welcome Leinster to the Sportsground in the Guinness Pro-12 this evening. Bucaneers back Jack Carty will start at out-half while Craig Ronaldson is recalled to start in the centre beside Bundee Aki. Elsewhere Dave Heffernan and Finlay Bealham come into the pack.

Meanwhile Leinster head-coach Leo Cullen has opted to rest Ireland internationals Jack McGrath, Tadhg Furlong, Johnny Sexton, Robbie Henshaw, Joey Carbery and Garry Ringrose for the trip to Galway.

They are showing 11 changes from the team that faced the Ospreys last week.

Ross Byrne comes in at out-half with Rhys Ruddock captaining the team from number-eight.

Connacht centre Bundee Aki says that Pat Lams Connacht side have a tough run in but Champions Cup qualification remains the aim…

Donnacha Ryan and Tyler Bleyendaal have come through the return to play protocals and will start for Munster in their inter-pro derby against Ulster at Thomond Park this afternoon.

Keith Earls, Rory Scannell and Simon Zebo come into the backs but Irish internationals CJ Stander and Conor Murray remain sidelined through injury.

Jacob Stockdale replaces the injured Jared Payne on the Ulster team with Andrew Trimble and Chris Henry also handed starts by Les Kiss.

Leinster are two points clear of Munster at the top while Ulster are 5th and Connacht are 7th.

In other rugby news: The referees have been appointed for the upcoming Champions Cup semi-finals.  France’s Romain Poite will take charge of the clash between Munster and Saracens at the AVIVA Stadium.

While Wales’ Nigel Owens is the man in the middle for the meeting of Clermont and Leinster in Lyon.

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