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McEntee Primes Leinster For Donnybrook Duel

McEntee Primes Leinster For Donnybrook Duel

The Leinster team to face Worcester Warriors in Sunday’s British & Irish Cup Pool A match at Donnybrook (kick-off 1pm) has been named.

Andrew Conway, David Kearney and Eoin O’Malley join the likes of Shaun Berne in a strong looking Leinster side packed with youth and experience for Sunday’s clash with the high-flying Warriors who lie 17 points clear at the top of the English Championship.

Rhys Ruddock is included in the province’s pack alongside his brother Ciaran, who starts in the second row alongside Argentina’s Mariano Galarza. Stephen Keogh leads the team from number 8.

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Leinster won two of their first three games in Pool A and currently lie in second place, a point adrift of the Cornish Pirates.

Leinster’s British & Irish Cup coach Colin McEntee is expecting a backlash from his charges when they face Worcester this weekend.

The Blues kicked off their cup campaign with victories away to Newport (33-28) and at home to Plymouth Albion (25-16), before succumbing to a powerful Cornish Pirates side 43-12 in Penzance last time out.

With the pool hotting up, McEntee believes that the travelling Warriors will prove stiff opposition as the province try to return to winning ways.

“Worcester have a professional squad and Academy set-up which is similar in size to ourselves and if you look at their season so far, they’re already 17 points clear in the Championship,” he said.

“They are an extremely ambitious squad with quality across their panel. They were a Premiership team last season and they’re doing everything right to ensure their promotion this year, so they’ll be dangerous opponents who will be arriving in Dublin with a lot of confidence.

“When you play sides of their calibre it increases the credibility of the competition, so it’s a game we’re looking forward to.

“It will be another massive challenge for our squad but I’ve every confidence in our ability to bounce back after the disappointment against the Pirates last time out.

“With it being a Heineken Cup weekend, there’s a lot of interest and excitement in rugby around the province.

“The players were hurt after that defeat and they want to put it right and you could see that in their intense approach to training this week.”

McEntee insists that back-to-back home games this weekend and again next Sunday at Donnybrook against Currie can propel the squad to qualification from their pool as they lie two points adrift of the Pirates.

“Sunday’s game is another great opportunity for players to put their hands up for selection,” he added.

“We face two big home games and it’s important we perform in them to maintain our push up the table.”

* There will be free entrance for Leinster Season Ticket holders into Sunday’s game upon presentation of this season’s membership card.

LEINSTER (v Worcester Warriors): Niall Morris; Andrew Conway, Eoin O’Malley, Shaun Berne, David Kearney; Ian McKinley, John Cooney; Jack McGrath, Tom Sexton, Simon Shawe, Ciaran Ruddock, Mariano Galarza, Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, Stephen Keogh (capt).

Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Jack O’Connell, Mark Flanagan, Eoin Sheriff, Mark Mahony, Ian Madigan, Brendan Macken.