Cooney and Murray go head to head, Carbery back at 10 1 year ago

Cooney and Murray go head to head, Carbery back at 10

It's a post-Christmas cracker.

Brought to you by eir Sport.

One of the only drawbacks to the stacked card of festive interpros that have become a staple of Irish sport in the last few years is the inevitable shuffling of the decks. Often, the away side tends to field a weakened team and the home side stack their starting 15. It's understandable, if not somewhat frustrating.

It's not the case this time around.

Both Munster and Ulster have identical records in the Pro 14 this season; 9 played, 6 won, 3 lost. Munster are a point clear of Edinburgh in Conference B, while Ulster are second in Conference A only to a Leinster side who haven't put a toe out of line all season. They come head to head as the season continues to heat up. There are points to play for, but there are also European and Irish places to be contended for as well.

Iain Henderson captains an Ulster side who have enjoyed a very good season to date, domestically and on the continent, while a front row of Jack McGrath, Rob Herring and Marty Moore will expect another strong night under lights in Belfast. John Cooney and Billy Burns will also look to stake claims for the 9 and 10 green jerseys, Cooney in particular being the in-form Irish player so far this season will have eyes on his opposite number in red. Jacob Stockdale shifts to the wing with Will Addison returning to fullback, while Craig Gilroy provides spark from the bench.

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Munster clearly haven't read their brief as the away side, as they look to shake off a bruising home defeat to Leinster in the last round. Andrew Conway and Keith Earls take either wing, while Peter O'Mahony returns to captain the side. Conor Murray will be feeling the heat from Cooney and knows a big performance is required, while Joey Carbery makes his first start of the season for the southern province as he looks to step into the breach at 10 for Ireland in the Six Nations.

The game is live on eir Sport tomorrow (Friday) from 7pm.