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Strauss Slots Back In For Leinster’s Parma Trip

Strauss Slots Back In For Leinster’s Parma Trip

A number of players will make a welcome return to competitive action on Saturday when Leinster line out against Zebre at the Stadio XXV Aprile in Parma (kick-off 4pm local time/3pm Irish time).

Hooker Richardt Strauss will make his 95th appearance for Leinster as he completes his comeback nearly five months to the day of his last appearance against Edinburgh in the PRO12.

A serious hamstring injury, which needed surgery, put paid to his season but he makes a return in a front row that also includes Jack McGrath and Martin Moore, who have also recovered from their respective calf and shoulder niggles.

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In the second row, Mike McCarthy is partnered by Kane Douglas who makes his first appearance away from home for Leinster. Devin Toner starts from the bench.

With an average age of 22, the back row has a young feel to it with 23-year-old Ireland international Rhys Ruddock very much the veteran with 85 provincial caps and four tries to his name.

He is joined by Jack Conan, who makes his second start for the province, and Academy player Josh van der Flier, who makes his full Leinster debut having started against Northampton Saints and Ulster in pre-season.

Rob Kearney will captain the team from full-back with the province’s September Player of the Month, Darragh Fanning, continuing on the left wing with Zane Kirchner making a welcome return on the right – this is the South Africa’s first game back since picking up an injury against the Scarlets last month.

Isaac Boss and Ian Madigan start together at half-back, while Noel Reid and Gordon D’Arcy will pair up in the centre. This will be Reid’s first appearance since going off after less than a minute in the round 1 fixture away to Glasgow Warriors.

LEINSTER (v Zebre): Rob Kearney (capt); Zane Kirchner, Gordon D’Arcy, Noel Reid, Darragh Fanning; Ian Madigan, Isaac Boss; Jack McGrath, Richardt Strauss, Martin Moore, Mike McCarthy, Kane Douglas, Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Ed Byrne, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, Jamie Heaslip, Luke McGrath, Jimmy Gopperth, Mick McGrath.