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Bent To Start For Leinster

Bent To Start For Leinster

The Leinster team to face Zebre in Saturday evening’s RaboDirect PRO12 clash at the RDS (kick-off 6pm) has been named.

Leinster will welcome back a number of players from international duty including Gordon D’Arcy, who is set to make his 211th appearance for the province and will start at outside centre, while Eoin Reddan will partner Jonathan Sexton at half-back.

Fergus McFadden is named in an exciting back-three alongside Andrew Conway and Isa Nacewa, with captain Leo Cullen and Damian Browne pairing up in the second row.

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In addition, there are home debuts for newly-capped Ireland tighthead prop Michael Bent and centre Andrew Goodman, who has featured in the province’s last two away league games.

Bent appeared as a replacement in Ireland’s GUINNESS Series Tests against South Africa and Argentina. On Saturday, he will be joined in the front row by returning Ireland international Sean Cronin and Springbok Heinke van der Merwe.

The likes of Cian Healy, Mike Ross and Isaac Boss have been named on a strong replacements bench.

Looking for the team to lay down a marker ahead of the back-to-back Heineken Cup encounters with Clermont Auvergne, Cullen said: “It’s about managing ourselves, it will depend on the conditions of course.

“Against Glasgow (last week) we managed some good stuff in the first half with line-breaks, but the game deteriorated in the second half and it turned into a bit of a slog.

“The weather will dictate a lot this weekend. It’s important that we’re adaptable and can play in whatever conditions prevail.

“For us though, these upcoming games against Clermont are going to be pivotal to our season. They’ve got off to a flier with two wins and two bonus points.

“They’ve great strength in their squad – it’ll be interesting to see who they play against Toulouse this weekend – but at the moment we’ll focus on Zebre.”

Ticket sales for the Leinster v Zebre game have passed the 15,500 mark and will be on sale from Ticketmaster outlets around the RDS from 2pm on matchday.

Tickets are still on sale online here, and are also available from the Leinster Rugby Store (Donnybrook) and Spar (Donnybrook) as well as Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.

LEINSTER (v Zebre): Isa Nacewa; Andrew Conway, Gordon D’Arcy, Andrew Goodman, Fergus McFadden; Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Heinke van der Merwe, Sean Cronin, Michael Bent, Leo Cullen (capt), Damian Browne, Kevin McLaughlin, Rhys Ruddock, Sean O’Brien.

Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Cian Healy, Mike Ross, Tom Denton, Jordi Murphy, Isaac Boss, Ian Madigan, Fionn Carr.