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Ulster head-coach Dan McFarland says dropping John Cooney for tomorrow's Guinness PRO14 final against Leinster was the "most difficult selection decision" of his coaching career.

McFarland's opted to pick former Munster and New Zealand scrum-half Alby Mathewson in the nine-shirt for the Aviva Stadium showdown with Cooney having to settle for a place on the bench against his native province.

“That was definitively the most difficult selection decision that I have ever been involved in. And I have been involved in a lot,” McFarland admitted after revealing his squad to face the defending champions.

“They are two excellent number nines and Alby is playing the better rugby at the moment.

“I feel very lucky that we, as a club, have got two nines of that quality and we are able to look to John coming off the bench as Alby did when he influenced and changed the way the game is potentially played in the second half."

Ulster captain Iain Henderson has recovered from hip surgery to take his place in their pack and McFarland says it's "terrific" to have his skipper fit to start.

“He's the captain of the club and we know what Iain can do for us in those big games. It's great to have him back in the fold.”

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