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Youthful Look To Leinster Squad

Youthful Look To Leinster Squad

The Leinster squad to face the Newport Gwent Dragons in Sunday’s Magners League clash at Rodney Parade (kick-off 5pm) has been named.

The selected Leinster panel features a number of players who have impressed in recent weeks in the British & Irish Cup.

Those include Shaun Berne, Michael Keating, Niall Morris and Dominic Ryan, while Ireland internationals Bernard Jackman and Malcolm O’Kelly are also in contention to start against the Dragons.

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CJ van der Linde has also made the cut, fresh from featuring for the Springboks against Ireland at Croke Park last Saturday.

In addition, Leinster can call upon the likes of John Fogarty, Fergus McFadden, Mike Ross and Devin Toner who all lined out in recent weeks for the Ireland ‘A’ side.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s league encounter with the Dragons, Leinster defence coach Kurt McQuilkin said that the players are looking to improve upon their recent record at Rodney Parade against an improved Dragons side.

“November is a period where coaches and players can re-focus and put in a lot more one-to-one preparation, but there was no sense of us taking the foot off the pedal because we’ve been hard at work preparing for the next block of Magners League and then the two Heineken Cup games over a busy December period,” he said. 

“We’re under no illusions as to how difficult Sunday’s game will be as we have lost our last two games in Rodney Parade. In an intimate ground like this you hear every comment and that puts a lot of pressure on the away team and the officials when things don’t go right!

“They have a large, vocal home support and for the new players in our squad this year that will be another factor for them to contend with.

“We have been practicing hard and you can sense a real determination in the players’ attitudes to maintain top spot in the league.

“In saying that, the attitude by the players over the last few weeks has been first class. We enjoyed two good wins in the opening British & Irish Cup games and some of the players who were involved have put their hands up for selection.

“I’m sure that there will be a few selection headaches, but that’s exactly the way you want it.”

He added: “The fact that the game is on a Sunday won’t be a factor because we’re professionals and you have to work around changes in schedules.

“The returning internationals have really instilled a positive energy into training and it just reiterates that we have some of the best professionals around.

“We’ll definitely take confidence from Ireland’s excellent performances over November as well as our two good wins in the British & Irish Cup.”

LEINSTER Squad (v Newport Gwent Dragons) – Backs (11): Shaun Berne, Girvan Dempsey, Chris Keane, David Kearney, Michael Keating, Simon Keogh, Ian Madigan, Fergus McFadden, Ian McKinley, Niall Morris, Eoin O’Malley.

Forwards (15): Mark Flanagan, John Fogarty, Trevor Hogan, Bernard Jackman, Stephen Keogh, Ronan McCormack, Jack McGrath, Malcolm O’Kelly, Mike Ross, Rhys Ruddock, Dominic Ryan, Paul Ryan, Richardt Strauss, Devin Toner, CJ van der Linde.