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Sexton And Jennings Return To Leinster Squad

Sexton And Jennings Return To Leinster Squad

The Leinster squad to face the Glasgow Warriors in Friday night’s Magners League clash at the RDS (kick-off 8pm) has been named.

Recent Ireland debutant Jonathan Sexton has recovered from a hand injury to take his place in Leinster’s extended panel alongside flanker Shane Jennings, who will captain the side for the visit of league leaders Glasgow to the RDS.

Jennings is available to play again after serving a 12-week ban for an incident in a Heineken Cup game against London Irish in October.

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The St. Mary’s College duo join 11 other Ireland internationals in the province’s squad – including the likes of Jamie Heaslip, Rob Kearney and Brian O’Driscoll – while there are also 10 recent graduates from the Leinster Academy in the line-up.

Nathan Hines, Isa Nacewa and Stan Wright are also in contention for selection and the team will be named on Thursday afternoon. 

Speaking ahead of Friday’s encounter, Leinster forwards coach Jono Gibbes said that the squad are looking forward to a tough contest against the Glasgow Warriors.

“Where I come from it doesn’t snow, so today (Wednesday) was my first day actually being out on a rugby field and for it to snow,” he said.

“It was a bit of a novelty for around 20 seconds, and then it was just miserable. To be fair our training facilities here are really good and the field we use hasn’t frozen so disruption has been minimal.

“The players trained really well today and everyone has got their fingers crossed that the RDS ground staff are able to work a miracle and the weather co-operates to enable this game to go ahead.

“It’s pretty important that the match goes ahead (in the context of last weekend’s postponement), but also because we’re back at the RDS and we get to face the top of the table team.

“Glasgow are really confident and have been consistently performing this year, so we get to measure ourselves and take them on and try to challenge them.

“It would be less than ideal to go into those (Heineken Cup) games without two weekends of rugby, but in saying that these are the cards that you’re dealt and it wouldn’t be the worst thing either because the few players who had bumps and bruises might benefit from the break.

“I thought that the direction that Shaunie (Berne) gave us in Jonathan Sexton’s absence was fantastic and I’m sure that Jono can settle into the driving seat, just as Shaunie did, if selected.

“From a forwards point of view, as long as they look after us and play it in front of us, we’ll be happy!

“Shane (Jennings) has been fantastic really. Obviously he did a bit of pre-season work and up-skilling in different organisations in Australia. He has been working on game-day, running the water and giving messages and his training involvement has been good.

“He has been organising and helping Kurt (McQuilkin) and is such a good organiser of our on-field defence which is a big help.

“I think that he’s a selfless guy and a real team man. He never pushes his own agendas and we’re looking forward to having him back on the field.

“Twelve weeks is a long time not to play and it would be really good for him to get a run.”

Over 13,500 tickets have now been sold for Friday’s top of the table Magners League game against the Warriors and tickets can be purchased here, from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide and the Leinster Rugby Store and Spar shop in Donnybrook.

Ticketmaster vans will also selling tickets outside the RDS from 5pm on Friday.

LEINSTER Squad (v Glasgow Warriors) – Backs (11): Shaun Berne, Girvan Dempsey, David Kearney, Rob Kearney, Simon Keogh, Fergus McFadden, Isa Nacewa, Paul O’Donohoe, Brian O’Driscoll, Eoin Reddan, Jonathan Sexton.

Forwards (16): John Fogarty, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Nathan Hines, Trevor Hogan, Bernard Jackman, Shane Jennings (capt), Stephen Keogh, Ronan McCormack, Kevin McLaughlin, Sean O’Brien, Malcolm O’Kelly, Mike Ross, Richardt Strauss, Devin Toner, Stan Wright.