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Leinster ‘A’ Team Named For Semi-Final

Leinster ‘A’ Team Named For Semi-Final

The Leinster ‘A’ team to face Munster ‘A’ in the semi-finals of the British & Irish Cup at the RDS on Good Friday (kick-off 6pm) has been named.

Following their unbeaten run in this year’s competition, the Leinster ‘A’ management can call upon a mix of youth and experience for what is the first British & Irish Cup game to be held at the RDS.

John Cooney (jaw) is ruled out so he is replaced by Ireland Under-20 scrum half Luke McGrath who makes his third appearance in the 2011/12 tournament.

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McGrath partners Noel Reid at half-back, with all of the province’s starting backs being products of the Leinster Academy.

Amongst them is the centre partnership of Colm O’Shea and Brendan Macken, the scorer of two tries in the previous round victory over Pontypridd.

Fionn Carr, Andrew Conway and David Kearney make up a lively back-three, while up front the team will be led by Rhys Ruddock who is named in the back row alongside Leo Auva’a and Dominic Ryan.

Damian Browne, returning from injury, partners former St. Finian’s Mullingar second row Mark Flanagan who makes his eighth cup appearance. Jack McGrath will line out in the front row alongside hooker Aaron Dundon and tighthead prop Martin Moore.

Speaking ahead of the game, Leinster ‘A’ head coach Colin McEntee said: “The British & Irish Cup competition has improved in quality progressively over the last number of years and it’s not too often that emerging players have the opportunity to play in front of what will hopefully be a big crowd at the RDS.

“So, the anticipation has risen over the last few days and the squad are in a good frame of mind for Friday’s test.

“Though we’re without a few players through injury, we’re pleased to be able to call upon several experienced players such as Damian (Browne) for what is going to be the biggest test that we have faced so far this season.

“Munster ‘A’ are a quality side and Ian (Costello) has done a fantastic job with them this year. They have a strong crop of emerging Irish talent on show, each of whom will be as keen as we are to win.”

He added: “It is vital in knockout rugby to take whatever chances come your way and we know that we will have to be accurate, aggressive and disciplined if we’re to progress to the final.

“It has been a long build up to the semi since the friendly against Connacht last month, and hopefully we can kick off a successful weekend for the province with a win.”

* Admission on Friday is free for Leinster Season Ticket holders upon presentation of this year’s membership card.

Tickets can be purchased online here and will be on sale at the turnstiles on the day (priced €;10-adult, €;5-schoolchildren).

LEINSTER ‘A’ (v Munster ‘A’): David Kearney; Andrew Conway, Brendan Macken, Colm O’Shea, Fionn Carr; Noel Reid, Luke McGrath; Jack McGrath, Aaron Dundon, Martin Moore, Damian Browne, Mark Flanagan, Rhys Ruddock (capt), Dominic Ryan, Leo Auva’a.

Replacements: Thomas Sexton, Jack O’Connell, Jordan Coughlan, Jordi Murphy, Matt Healy, Cathal Marsh, Andrew Boyle.