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O’Driscoll And Reid Pair Up For Leinster

O’Driscoll And Reid Pair Up For Leinster

The Leinster team to face Benetton Treviso in the RaboDirect PRO12 at the RDS on Friday evening (kick-off 5pm) has been named.

There are two changes in the backs from the team that lost to the Ospreys with Brian O’Driscoll returning at outside centre in place of Gordon D’Arcy and Darragh Fanning starting on the left wing instead of Dave Kearney.

Noel Reid, who scored a try against Treviso in November, retains his place at inside centre, while Rob Kearney continues at full-back and Zane Kirchner plays on the right wing.

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The starting half-backs are unchanged with Jimmy Gopperth and Isaac Boss continuing in the number 10 and 9 jerseys respectively.

Gopperth kicked 14 points in Swansea and lines out for his 25th Leinster cap. Boss is edging ever closer to a century of Leinster appearances and Friday’s round 20 fixture will mark his 95th game in blue.

Jamie Heaslip captains the side from number 8 and the selected pack sees no changes in the front row with Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Martin Moore starting once again.

There is one change in the second row with Mike McCarthy starting in place of Leo Cullen, and a further two changes in the back row with Rhys Ruddock and Jordi Murphy coming in for the injured Kevin McLaughlin and Shane Jennings.

While Leinster have suffered two successive away losses, they are unbeaten in the RaboDirect PRO12 at home in their last eleven games – including eight victories on the trot.

In the corresponding fixture in November at the Stadio di Monigo, Leinster scraped home 21-20 with a Gopperth penalty in the 75th minute proving decisive.

LEINSTER (v Benetton Treviso): Rob Kearney; Zane Kirchner, Brian O’Driscoll, Noel Reid, Darragh Fanning; Jimmy Gopperth, Isaac Boss; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Martin Moore, Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy, Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, Jamie Heaslip (capt).

Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Jack McGrath, Michael Bent, Tom Denton, Dominic Ryan, Luke McGrath, Ian Madigan, Brendan Macken.