10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Connacht, who have already secured their place in the knock-out phase of the Celtic League had the bad news that their influential captain, Simon Allnutt may be out of action for the rest of the season. Alnutt tore cruciate knee ligaments in Connacht's dramatic Celtic League success over Bridgend last Saturday and sees a specialist to determine the extent of the damage.
Shane Moore is brought into the centre to face Pontypridd at the Sportsground on Saturday in a side that shows seven changes from the team that defeated Bridgend. A new centre combination sees Moore partner Dermot O'Sullivan, who replaces the injured Darren Yapp, with scrum-half Eoin Reddan returning for the injured Chris Keane. Up front, Marnus Uijs and Ronan McCormack come into the front-row, Warwick Waugh resumes after injury in the second-row, while Michael Swift is included at blindside flanker with John O'Sullivan moving to No 8 and Colm Rigney switching to the openside.
CONNACHT. M McHugh; T Robinson, D O'Sullivan, S Moore, W Munn; E Elwood, E Reddan; D McFarland, M Uijs, R McCormack, W Waugh, R Frost, M Swift, J O'Sullivan, C Rigney. Subs: P Bracken, J Flannery, D Browne, E Peters, M Walls, M McPhail, J Norton.
Ulster include David Humphreys (pictured) and Gary Longwell for their away clash with bottom-of-the-table Caerphilly at Virginia Park on Saturday, but coach Alan Solomons will leave the captaincy of the side in the capable hands of Jeremy Davidson.
Ulster. Bryn Cunningham; Scott Young, Ryan Constable, Johnny Bell, Tyrone Howe; David Humphreys, Neil Doak; Justin Fitzpatrick, Matt Sexton, Rob Kempson; Gary Longwell, Jeremy Davidson (Capt); Warren Brosnihan, Tony McWhirter, N McMillan. Replacements: Simon Best; Paul Shields; Mark Blair; Neil Best; Kieran Campbell; Adam Larkin; Shane Stewart.
Leinster and Munster field their strongest possibvle sides for their games against Newport (home) and Neath (away) respectively.
Leinster. Girvan Dempsey; Denis Hickie, Brian O'Driscoll, Shane Horgan, Gordan D'Arcy; Christian Warner, BrianO'Meara; Reggie Corrigan (capt), Shane Byrne, Paul Wallace; Leo Cullen, Malcolm O'Kelly; Eric Miller, Keith Gleeson, Victor Costello. Replacements: Emmet Byrne, Peter Smyth, Aidan Kearney, Des Dillon, Brian O'Riordan, David Quinlan/Adam Magro, Matt Leek/Kieran Lewis.
Munster. Jeremy Staunton; John Kelly, Mike Mullins, Rob Henderson, Mossie Lawlor; Ronan O'Gara, Peter Stringer; Marcus Horan, Frank Sheahan, John Hayes; Donnacha O'Callaghan, Mick O'Driscoll; Jim Williams (Capt.), Alan Quinlan, Anthony Foley. Replacements: Simon Kerr, James Blaney, Mick Galwey, Eddie Halvey, Denis Leamy, Mike Prendergast, Dominic Malone, Jason Holland, Dominic Crotty.