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Leinster Welcome Back Wright

Leinster Welcome Back Wright

The Leinster team to face the Cardiff Blues at Cardiff City Stadium (kick-off 6.30pm) in Saturday’s Magners League clash has been named.

Fit-again prop Stan Wright returns to the squad as a replacement, while team captain Leo Cullen is set to make a landmark appearance for Leinster.

Cullen will enter the history books when he becomes only the fifth player in the province’s history to reach the 150-cap mark.

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In achieving this milestone, the Newmountkennedy lock follows Shane Horgan (198 caps), Malcolm O’Kelly (188), Gordon D’Arcy (183) and Girvan Dempsey (175) in Leinster’s all-time roll of honour.

Cullen leads the team and is one of five Ireland internationals named in the panel for the meeting of the league’s second and third-placed teams.

Isaac Boss links up with Ian McKinley at half-back, with former St. Patrick’s Classical School Navan centre Eamonn Sheridan making his second senior appearance – and his first start for the province – alongside Eoin O’Malley.

Isa Nacewa, Andrew Conway and Niall Morris, who was a try scorer in the 21-16 victory over Aironi last time out, make up the back-three. Kevin McLaughlin starts in the back row alongside Dominic Ryan and Rhys Ruddock.

Cook Islands international Wright is part of a strong replacements bench which also includes Ireland scrum half Eoin Reddan and Scotland’s Nathan Hines.

Speaking ahead of the game, young winger Andrew Conway said: “To be honest, we weren’t too happy with the performance against Aironi. We felt that the forwards gave us a good amount of ball and we didn’t do too much with it, so I think we really have to look to pick things up a gear for this week against Cardiff.

“Cardiff are just behind us in the table now – and I think they have a game in hand as well – so we really know we have to put it to them this week.

“They have a really strong back-three with a few of the lads in the Welsh squad, a good back row and they’ll be pretty much strong all around the park, so it’s a really big game.

“It’s been really enjoyable this season getting a few more opportunities so hopefully in the next few weeks, with a few more international guys coming back and the group that’s in at the moment, we can live up to expectations.

“Hopefully by the time all the internationals come back, we have them in a better situation in the league than they were when they left.”

LEINSTER (v Cardiff Blues): Isa Nacewa; Andrew Conway, Eoin O’Malley, Eamonn Sheridan, Niall Morris; Ian McKinley, Isaac Boss; Heinke van der Merwe, Richardt Strauss, Clint Newland, Leo Cullen (capt), Devin Toner, Kevin McLaughlin, Dominic Ryan, Rhys Ruddock.

Replacements: Jason Harris-Wright, Jack McGrath, Stan Wright, Nathan Hines, Stephen Keogh, Eoin Reddan, Ian Madigan, Michael Keating.