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Four Changes For Leinster

Four Changes For Leinster

The Leinster team to face Benetton Treviso in Friday night’s Magners League clash at the RDS (kick-off 7.10pm) has been named.

Isa Nacewa will captain Leinster for the first time and is included in a back-line which welcomes back David Kearney for the visit of the Italian side.

In the pack, Stan Wright is named in the province’s starting line-up for the first time this season after making his comeback as a second half replacement last weekend in Cardiff.

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Wright comes into the front row alongside Richardt Strauss and Heinke van der Merwe, with Stephen Keogh named in the back row alongside Kevin McLaughlin and Dominic Ryan.

Rhys Ruddock is one of seven replacements who have come through the Leinster Academy in recent years, with a further eight graduates in the starting line-up.

Head coach Joe Schmidt said: “We had a very youthful look to our back-line (against Cardiff). We defended very well. Cardiff kept the ball for long, long periods. I think 175 tackles is the most we’ve had to make for a long time.

“I suppose the flip side of that is that we didn’t hold onto the ball long enough, probably made too many errors and allowed them to disrupt our rucks.

“Stan’s been a long time getting back. I wouldn’t say he’s the same Stan you saw last year yet. But hopefully in three or four weeks’ time, he’ll be running with the full energy that he normally has.

“It’ll be a week by week thing with Stan, just plotting his progress and adding his game minutes.”

He added: “Treviso have been a bit of a banana skin for a number of teams. They’re mid-table and for anyone to say that they don’t merit that wouldn’t have looked too hard at their games.

“They have got a very good 9-10 combination in (Tobie) Botes and (Willem) de Waal. They certainly kept the pressure on you. They’ve very big, uncomprimising men up front, with guys to control the game really well.

“And then (Brendan) Williams is a constant threat at full-back, he’s very fast, has got a good kicking game and varies where he enters the back-line. Across the board, they have some really good threats.”

Over 14,400 tickets have now been sold for Friday’s game. They are on sale now from www.leinsterrugby.ie, Spar (Donnybrook), the Leinster Rugby Store (Donnybrook), Champion Sports (Grafton Street) as well as all Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.

Tickets will also be on sale on match night.

LEINSTER (v Benetton Treviso): Isa Nacewa (capt); Andrew Conway, Eoin O’Malley, Eamonn Sheridan, David Kearney; Ian McKinley, Isaac Boss; Heinke van der Merwe, Richardt Strauss, Stan Wright, Ed O’Donoghue, Devin Toner, Kevin McLaughlin, Dominic Ryan, Stephen Keogh.

Replacements: Jason Harris-Wright, Jack McGrath, Clint Newland, Rhys Ruddock, Paul Ryan, Paul O’Donohoe, Ian Madigan, Niall Morris.