Pro12: Munster v Ulster (Sat)

RABODIRECT PRO12: MUNSTER v ULSTER

  • Venue: Thomond Park, Limerick
  • Date: Saturday, 29 December
  • Kick-off: 17:30 GMT

Coverage: Live on BBC2 NI and the BBC Sport website

Pro12 leaders Ulster have made 11 changes for the clash with Irish rivals Munster at Thomond Park.

Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall, Neil McComb and Robbie Diack retain their places with many players rested or involved in an Ireland training camp.

Adam D'Arcy will make his first start of the season at full-back.

Irish internationals Peter O'Mahony, Conor Murray and Simon Zebo return to the Munster team while Damian Varley is back after injury.

Ronan O'Gara is named on the bench with Ian Keatley retaining the number 10 jersey.

Scrum-half Murray replaces Peter Stringer, whose late intervention against Connacht last weekend prevented a match-winning score.

Ulster prepare for a tough test against interprovincial rivals Munster in Saturday's Pro12 game at Thomond Park.

O'Gara and Stringer will be joined on the replacements bench by Felix Jones, who returns after injury.

Donncha O'Callaghan and Billy Holland are the only combination up front who remain intact for a game that sees Denis Hurley win his 100th Munster cap.

Ulster are able to field an all Irish-qualified match-day squad for the trip to Limerick.

D'Arcy will be joined in the back three by speedy youngsters Chris Cochrane and Gilroy.

Michael Allen will partner Luke Marshall in midfield, with Paul Marshall and Niall O'Connor forming a new half-back combination.

Callum Black, Rob Herring and Adam Macklin make up an all-new front row, while lock Lewis Stevenson has returned from an eight week injury lay-off to partner McComb.

Roger Wilson will captain the team from number 8 and he will be ably assisted in the back row by Mike McComish and Diack.

There are opportunities on the bench for Academy players Ali Birch, Stuart Olding, Ricky Andrew and Alan O'Connor, who made his debut against his home province Leinster last weekend.

Hooker Niall Annett, prop Ricky Lutton and scrum-half Michael Heaney provide further back up.

Experienced prop Tom Court, who enjoyed a fine man-of-the-match performance against Leinster weekend, is also among the replacements.

Munster: D Hurley; D Howlett capt, C Laulala, J Downey, S Zebo; I Keatley, C Murray; W du Preez, D Varley, BJ Botha; D O'Callaghan, B Holland; P O'Mahony, T O'Donnell, P Butler.

Replacements: M Sherry, M Horan, S Archer, Dave O'Callaghan, J Coughlan, P Stringer, R O'Gara, F Jones.

Ulster: A D'Arcy, C Cochrane, M Allen, L Marshall, C Gilroy; N O'Connor, P Marshall; C Black, R Herring, A Macklin, L Stevenson, N McComb, R Diack, M McComish, R Wilson.

Replacements: N Annett, R Lutton, T Court, A O'Connor, A Birch, M Heaney, S Olding, R Andrew.