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Leinster Name Two Starting Line-Ups

Leinster Name Two Starting Line-Ups

The Leinster team to face Connacht in Wednesday’s refixed Magners League derby tie at the Sportsground (kick-off 7.45pm) has been named. Michael Cheika has also confirmed Leinster’s starting line-up for Friday night’s tussle with Glasgow Warriors at Firhill Stadium (kick-off 8pm).

For Leinster’s trip to Galway, Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll returns to the province’s starting line-up and will partner Eoin O’Malley at centre.

CJ van der Linde starts in a front row which includes Stan Wright and Richardt Strauss who makes his first start for the province. Shane Jennings captains the side.

Eoin Reddan will also link up with Shaun Berne at half-back, with Ireland Under-20 international Andrew Conway named on the right wing for what will be his third appearance in Leinster colours.

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Regular skipper Leo Cullen and his fellow Ireland internationals Cian Healy and Jamie Heaslip have been named on a strong looking replacements bench.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s game at the Sportsground, Leinster coach Michael Cheika said that they are expecting another tough, physical test against an improving Connacht side.

“There are still important league points to play for, so given the closely fought nature of these interpro matches, that just serves to sharpen our instincts for what will be a tough match,” he said.

“Connacht are one of the most improved teams in Magners League this year and they are in a strong position to win the Amlin Challenge Cup – and are on the verge of qualifying for the Heineken Cup outright – so we’re under no illusion as to what kind of challenge we face this week.

“We made it very clear to each player that over these two games (Connacht and Glasgow) each player in the squad will have an opportunity to wear the blue shirt and they will all relish the opportunity, I’m sure. 

“If we bring nothing other than our ‘A’ game to Galway then we will struggle. Every game between the two sides is a dogfight.

“They probably felt that they should have won the reverse fixture at the end of the March at the RDS, so they will look to target us again this week as they always do.

“They dominated the contact area (that day) and showed their capabilities when opportunities came their way that day so the one thing you learn about competing in games like this is that irrespective of league standings and form, there will be physicality, lots of grit and collisions. We have to meet these challenges positively.

“We’re expecting a tough test and Wednesday’s game will be about pride and focus. We have a good run going in the Magners League and we don’t want to let our standards slip.”

Meanwhile, the Leinster team to face the Glasgow Warriors in Friday night’s Magners League encounter at Firhill Stadium has also been named and will be led by Bernard Jackman who is in named in a panel brimming with youthful promise.

Ireland Under-20 captain Rhys Ruddock starts in a pack alongside his older brother Ciaran Ruddock. The pair played together for the Irish U-20s last year.

The 19-year-old Rhys joins fellow Leinster Academy back rower Paul Ryan, who has impressed in recent weeks, in the back row, while Ciaran (21) will make his provincial debut in the second row alongside Trevor Hogan.

Jackman, Hogan and Mike Ross are the three Ireland internationals that feature in the pack, while Ireland Wolfhounds ace Fergus McFadden starts at centre alongside Eoin O’Malley.

LEINSTER (v Connacht): Girvan Dempsey; Andrew Conway, Brian O’Driscoll, Eoin O’Malley, Isa Nacewa; Shaun Berne, Eoin Reddan; Stan Wright, Richardt Strauss, CJ van der Linde, Nathan Hines, Malcolm O’Kelly, Kevin McLaughlin, Shane Jennings (capt), Stephen Keogh.

Replacements: John Fogarty, Cian Healy, Leo Cullen, Jamie Heaslip, Paul O’Donohoe, Ian Madigan, Simon Keogh.

LEINSTER (v Glasgow Warriors): Ian Madigan; Simon Keogh, Eoin O’Malley, Fergus McFadden, Michael Keating; Paul O’Donohoe, Chris Keane; Ronan McCormack, Bernard Jackman (capt), Mike Ross, Trevor Hogan, Ciaran Ruddock, Rhys Ruddock, Paul Ryan, Stephen Keogh.

Replacements: Jason Harris-Wright, Jack McGrath, Mark Flanagan, Dominic Ryan, David Moore, Kyle Tonetti/Brendan Macken, Andrew Conway.