Head coach Girvan Dempsey has named the Leinster ‘A’ team to face Plymouth Albion in Saturday’s opening match of their British & Irish Cup title defence at Brickfields (kick-off 3pm).
Experienced lock Tom Denton will captain the Leinster ‘A’ team and is joined in the second row by UCD clubman Gavin Thornbury.
The selected front row will be propped up by Brian McGovern and Oisin Heffernan, and Sean McCarthy starts at hooker. Leinster ‘A’ will face McCarthy’s former club Jersey RFC next weekend at Donnybrook.
Jordan Coghlan starts in the back row for the second successive game. The versatile 21-year-old also slotted in at centre during last weekend’s interprovincial match against Munster ‘A’. He will be flanked in the back row by Ben Marshall and Peadar Timmins.
Nick McCarthy and Ross Byrne are the two starting half-backs for the Pool 5 opener. Both players are in their first year with the Leinster Academy and are just 19-years-old.
Steve Crosbie, who made his first appearance for the senior team in their win over the Scarlets last month, will start at inside centre with the 20-year-old Rory O’Loughlin outside him.
Cian Kelleher, a try scorer in Leinster’s pre-season friendly against Northampton Saints, gets the nod at full-back. UCD duo Sam Coghlan Murray and Adam Byrne complete an exciting back-three.
LEINSTER ‘A’ (v Plymouth Albion): Cian Kelleher; Sam Coghlan Murray, Rory O’Loughlin, Steve Crosbie, Adam Byrne; Ross Byrne, Nick McCarthy; Brian McGovern, Sean McCarthy, Oisin Heffernan, Tom Denton (capt), Gavin Thornbury, Ben Marshall, Peadar Timmins, Jordan Coghlan.
Replacements: James Tracy, Ivan Soroka, Ross Molony, Josh Murphy, Adam Griggs, Tom Farrell, Billy Dardis.