18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
Sporting the Black and Amber colours made even more famous now that they spawned the new Welsh coach, will be Percy Montgomery and Bobby Skinstad while at number 15 for Munster will be the legendary All Black Christian Cullen.
Munster coach Alan Gaffney introduces a new half-back pairing of youngsters Conrad O'Sullivan and Frank Murphy in a side that includes other former Under 21s such as Tom Hayes, Mossie Lawler and Strephen Keogh as well as the welcome return of Marcus Horan.
Ulster will be without Gary Longwell for their visit toThe Brewery Field after the big second-row picked up a leg injury this week at the national training camp but David Humphreys and Neil Doak are back for this crucial tie.
Victor Costello will be in the Leinster Lions side for their trip to Galway on Saturday when Felipe Contepomi will partner Brian O'Riordan at half-back.
Munster: Christian Cullen; Shaun Payne, John Kelly, Jason Holland, Mossie Lawler; Conrad O'Sullivan, Frank Murphy; Marcus Horan, Frank Sheahan, Gordon McIlwham; David Pusey, Tom Hayes; Stephen Keogh, David Wallace, Jim Williams capt. Replacements: Jerry Flannery, Frank Roche, Eddie Halvey, Peter Malone, Eoin Reddan, Keith Matthews, Martin McPhail.
Ulster: Bryn Cunningham; James Topping, Shane Stewart, Paul Steinmetz, Scott Young; David Humphreys, Neil Doak; Simon Best, Matt Sexton, Rod Moore; Matt Mustchin; Matt McCullough, Andy Ward capt, Neil McMillan, Roger Wilson. Replacements: Paul Shields, Ronan McCormack, Rowan Frost, Neil Best, Kieran Campbell, Adam Larkin, Paddy Wallace.
Connacht: Connacht: Mark McHugh; Matt Mostyn, Darren Yapp, Shane Moore, Conor McPhillips; Eric Elwood, Conor O'Loughlin; Dan McFarland, Bernard Jackman, Peter Bracken; Damien Browne, Andrew Farley; Michael Swift, Matt Lacey, John O'Sullivan. Replacements: John Fogarty/Henry Bourke, Adrian Clarke, Michael Carroll, Paul Neville/Tom Carter, Michael Walls, David Hewitt, Wayne Munn.
Leinster Lions: James Norton; John McWeeney, Gary Brown, Christian Warner, Brendan Burke; Felipe Contepomi, Brian O'Riordan; John Lyne, David Blaney Sean Brophy; Aidan Kearney, Ben Gissing; Des Dillon capt, Niall Ronan, Victor Costello. Replacements: Jason Moran, Brian Blaney, Ciaran Potts, Simon Crawford, Brian O'Meara, Matthew Leek, James Downey.
Celtic League - Friday 12th March. 7.05: Celtic Warriors v Ulster, Brewery Field, Gregg Davies (S), BBCW/TG4. 7.30: The Borders v Glasgow Rugby, Netherdale, Phil Fear (W). 7.30: Edinburgh Rugby v N-S Ospreys, Meadowbank, Alain Rolland (I). 7.30: Munster v The Dragons, Thomond Park, Graeme Hannah (S).
Celtic League - Saturday 13th March. 2.30:Connacht v Leinster Lions, Sportsground, Nigel Williams (W). 5.30: Cardiff Blues v Llanelli Scarlets, Arms Park, Donal Courtney (I), S4C.