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Leinster Team Announced For Interpro Derby

Leinster Team Announced For Interpro Derby

The Leinster team to face Ulster in Monday’s Magners League derby clash at Ravenhill (kick-off 4pm) has been named.

The selected team shows eight changes in personnel to the Leinster side that secured an impressive home win over Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup last weekend.

Isa Nacewa, who has scored 90 points so far this season, starts again at full-back in a back-line which includes three Ireland internationals.

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Brian O’Driscoll partners Fergus McFadden at centre, with Shane Horgan continuing on the right wing. Shaun Berne links up with former Ulster scrum half Isaac Boss at half-back, while David Kearney comes in as an indirect replacement for Gordon D’Arcy.

Heinke van der Merwe and Jason Harris-Wright take over from Cian Healy and Richardt Strauss in the front row, linking up with Mike Ross.

Devin Toner starts in the second row alongside team captain Leo Cullen, with Sean O’Brien, who moves to number 8, forming an exciting looking back row unit with Dominic Ryan and Rhys Ruddock.

Clontarf’s Ireland club international hooker Aaron Dundon, who has featured for Leinster’s British & Irish Cup team of late, has been selected amongst the replacements for the first time along with Academy player Ben Marshall.

Speaking ahead of Monday’s interprovincial derby, Leinster forwards coach Jono Gibbes said that the squad will approach the challenge of Ulster in a positive frame of mind.

“There were a few internal realities within the group after the Clermont game and while we had a positive result, the players understood in the analysis of the game that a few things were not up to scratch,” he said.

“Our defensive lineout work and the try we conceded were pretty poor and although the good work that was done in the 60 minute period allowed us to have a bit of a buffer, we should have been more ruthless.

“We’re facing into the challenge of three tough Magners League games coming up and it’s a pretty fractured playing roster (at this time of year) with guys coming in and out of the squad. Irrespective of who plays, we need to harder on ourselves.

“There will be opportunities for some of the younger players to impress and the coaching team have been pleased with a few of the positive examples of younger guys taking opportunities.”

Gibbes added: “I think Ulster will pose a massive mental and physical challenge for us and they have been going pretty well recently in the league and especially in their two wins over Bath in the Heineken Cup.

“They have a good hardened core and it will be really important for whoever steps in that they’re up to speed pretty quickly.

“Both times we’ve played up there during my time here have been massively confrontational games. The weather dictated that neither team could have a good crack at each other last season, but the game the previous year was played on a crisp clear night and it was a pretty fiery encounter.

“The lessons that you learn from being involved in interprovincial derbies is that these are the games that no one wants to lose.”

* Leinster would like to remind supporters travelling to the game to travel safely and give yourself plenty of time due to the inclement weather which has recently hit the country.

LEINSTER (v Ulster): Isa Nacewa; Shane Horgan, Brian O’Driscoll, Fergus McFadden, David Kearney; Shaun Berne, Isaac Boss; Heinke van der Merwe, Jason Harris-Wright, Mike Ross, Leo Cullen (capt), Devin Toner, Rhys Ruddock, Dominic Ryan, Sean O’Brien.

Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Jack McGrath, Clint Newland, Ed O’Donoghue, Ben Marshall, Paul O’Donohoe, Ian Madigan, Andrew Conway.