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Ulster duo among Ireland players released back to provinces but Leinster without 15 internationals for PRO14 clash at Kingspan Stadium

 

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Ulster's Stuart McCloskey will be available to take on Leinster.

Ulster's Stuart McCloskey will be available to take on Leinster.

PA

Ulster's Stuart McCloskey will be available to take on Leinster.

Ulster will welcome two of their Ireland contingent back for this weekend's PRO14 game against Leinster at Kingspan Stadium.

The international squad are on a down week after their win over Italy, with the next game, away to Scotland, taking place on Sunday week, March 14.

That means both Stuart McCloskey and Tom O'Toole have been made available for their province, who will be without Iain Henderson, Rob Herring and Billy Burns, both retained as part of Ireland's 23-man training squad.

John Cooney and Eric O'Sullivan will be available to Ulster, having been called in to provide injury cover for Ireland earlier in the championship, while Jacob Stockdale is expected to get another run-out before a potential Ireland recall.

Leinster will have Ed Byrne, Ross Byrne, Rhys Ruddock and Josh van der Flier all available for Saturday evening's trip to Kingspan, but will be without 15 players, who make up the bulk of Ireland's training panel for the camp on Thursday and Friday.

Those are backs Jamison Gibson-Park, Robbie Henshaw, Hugo Keenan, Jordan Larmour, James Lowe, Garry Ringrose and Johnny Sexton as well as forwards Ryan Baird, Jack Conan, Will Connors, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Ronan Kelleher, Andrew Porter and James Ryan.

After failing to get a bonus point in their win over Ospreys on Friday, Ulster are now relying on Leinster failing to take maximum points against either Zebre or Ospreys if they are to stand a chance of topping the conference and reaching the PRO14 final, but a win this weekend would at least keep their slimming hopes alive.

Baird has kept his place in Ireland's panel after impressing on his debut in Rome on Saturday, but his fellow new man Craig Casey will play for Munster against Connacht this Friday night.

The scrum-half is the only member of Saturday's match-day 23 who won't be with the squad for this week's camp, which would indicate that Ireland are increasingly confident that Conor Murray will be fit to face Scotland. He and Jamison Gibson-Park are the two number nines that remain in camp.

The IRFU will monitor Dave Kilcoyne (head), Jordan Larmour (hip), Ronan Kelleher (ankle) and Tadhg Furlong (ankle) and will assess them further before the gathering later this week.

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Ireland Two Day Camp Squad

Backs (10): Billy Burns, Keith Earls, Jamison Gibson-Park, Robbie Henshaw, Hugo Keenan, Jordan Larmour, James Lowe, Conor Murray, Garry Ringrose, Johnny Sexton.

Forwards (13): Ryan Baird, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Will Connors, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Ronan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, James Ryan, CJ Stander.

Returning to Provinces (13)

Connacht: Bundee Aki, Ultan Dillane, Dave Heffernan

Leinster: Ed Byrne, Ross Byrne, Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier

Munster: Craig Casey, Andrew Conway, Shane Daly, Chris Farrell

Ulster: Stuart McCloskey, Tom O'Toole


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