URC Fixtures – Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster starting teams

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We have the starting teams and the opposition for Connacht, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster on round 1 of the URC 2022/23


Leo Cullen has named the Leinster Rugby squad, as sponsored by Bank of Ireland, for the URC season opener against Zebre Parma at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi (KO 1pm Irish time – LIVE on RTÉ, Premier Sports and URC TV).

Both of the new summer signings, Jason Jenkins and Charlie Ngatai, are included in the starting XV for their Leinster debuts.

Rhys Ruddock captains the side from the back row where he’s alongside Scott Penny and Max Deegan.

Rónan Kelleher, who missed the end of last season through injury, returns in the front row with Ed Byrne and Michael Ala’alatoa either side of him while Ross Molony joins Jenkins at lock.

The familiar pairing of Luke McGrath and Ross Byrne make up the half-backs with the other debutant, Ngatai, joining Jamie Osborne, now promoted from the Academy, in midfield.

Cullen and Co are able to welcome Dave Kearney back from injury for the new campaign and he’s selected on the left wing with Academy duo Rob Russell and Max O’Reilly completing the back three.

There’s also a welcome return from injury for Will Connors who takes his place among the replacements.

Leinster Rugby team to face Zebre Parma (appearances in brackets):

15. Max O’Reilly (9)
14. Rob Russell (5)
13. Jamie Osborne (19)
12. Charlie Ngatai (0)
11. Dave Kearney (173)
10. Ross Byrne (128)
9. Luke McGrath (175)

1. Ed Byrne (85)
2. Rónan Kelleher (36)
3. Michael Ala’alatoa (25)
4. Ross Molony (139)
5. Jason Jenkins (0)
6. Rhys Ruddock CAPTAIN (210)
7. Scott Penny (41)
8. Max Deegan (84)


16. John McKee (3)
17. Michael Milne (17)
18. Vakhtang Abdaladze (17)
19. Brian Deeny (2)
20. Alex Soroka (5)
21. Nick McCarthy (46)
22. Ciarán Frawley (56)
23. Will Connors (25)


Gavin Thornbury will captain Connacht for the first time in tomorrow’s BKT URC opener against Ulster at Kingspan Stadium (k/o 7.35pm).


The lock will make his 64th appearance for the province in a squad that includes three debutants and a possible two more off the bench.


Peter Dooley, Josh Murphy and Byron Ralston have all been handed their first Connacht cap, with Shamus Hurley-Langton and David Hawkshaw also potential debutants off the bench.

Dooley is named in a front row with Jack Aungier and hooker Dave Heffernan, while Leva Fifita partners Thornbury in the second row. The pack is completed by flanker Conor Oliver and number 8 Paul Boyle.


Kieran Marmion and Conor Fitzgerald are paired together at 9 and 10, while the two Toms – Daly and Farrell – start at centre. Ralston’s first game will be on the right wing, with John Porch on the opposite wing and Tiernan O’Halloran at full-back.


Commenting on the team announcement, Director of Rugby Andy Friend says:


“We’ve had a very positive pre-season and there’s now a huge sense of excitement among the group. There’s a genuine belief and optimism about what we can achieve in this first block of games, which all starts in Belfast tomorrow night.


Ulster are a quality side and our battles against them are always hard fought. We’re really looking forward going head-to-head with them in what should be a great season opener for us both.”


Saturday 17th September 2022, 19:35 @ Kingspan Stadium

Number/Name/Caps ( * denotes uncapped)
15. Tiernan O’Halloran (206)

14. Byron Ralston *

13. Tom Farrell (79)

12. Tom Daly (61)

11. John Porch (59)

10. Conor Fitzgerald (53)

9. Kieran Marmion (209)

1. Peter Dooley *

2. Dave Heffernan (165)

3. Jack Aungier (31)

4. Gavin Thornbury (63) (C)

5. Leva Fifita (15)

6. Josh Murphy *

7. Conor Oliver (41)

8. Paul Boyle (73)

16. Dylan Tierney-Martin (6)

17. Denis Buckley (208)

18. Sam Illo (2)

19. Niall Murray (35)

20. Shamus Hurley-Langton *

21. Caolin Blade (150)

22. David Hawkshaw *

23. Oran McNulty (9)


The Munster team has been named for the province’s BKT United Rugby Championship opener in Cardiff on Saturday (3.05pm, live on URC TV, RTÉ 2, Premier Sport, BBC Wales and SuperSport).

The game will see Head Coach Graham Rowntree and the new coaching team take charge of Munster in a competitive fixture for the first time.

Malakai Fekitoa will make his competitive Munster debut after his summer move to the province with the World Cup winner featuring in both pre-season games.

Shane Daly starts at full-back with Calvin Nash and Liam Coombes on either flank as Fekitoa and Chris Farrell form the centre partnership.

Scrum-half Paddy Patterson makes his second Munster start on his eighth appearance for the province with Ben Healy at out-half.

Josh Wycherley, Niall Scannell and Keynan Knox pack down in the front row with Jean Kleyn and Fineen Wycherley in the engine room.

Captain Jack O’Donoghue, Alex Kendellen and Jack O’Sullivan complete the side.

Dave Kilcoyne is included among the replacements and in line to make his first Munster appearance since February after recovering from a neck injury.

John Hodnett takes his place in the squad for the first time since April as he returns from a knee injury.

In player news, Stephen Archer, Mike Haley and Simon Zebo were all unavailable for selection.

Archer is recovering from a knock, Haley reported stiffness this week and Zebo misses out due to illness.

Munster: Shane Daly; Calvin Nash, Chris Farrell, Malakai Fekitoa, Liam Coombes; Ben Healy, Paddy Patterson; Josh Wycherley, Niall Scannell, Keynan Knox; Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Jack O’Donoghue (C), Alex Kendellen, Jack O’Sullivan.

Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Dave Kilcoyne, Roman Salanoa, Tom Ahern, John Hodnett, Neil Cronin, Jack Crowley, Rory Scannell.


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