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Kearney And Murphy Return For Leinster

Kearney And Murphy Return For Leinster

Leinster head coach Matt O’Connor has named his team to face Benetton Treviso in the GUINNESS PRO12 on Sunday (kick-off 3.30pm local time/2.30pm Irish time), with two changes from the round 7 win over Edinburgh.

Matt O’Connor welcomes back, for the first time this season, Jordi Murphy to the pack and Dave Kearney to the left wing after shoulder and knee injuries respectively had sidelined the pair for the last few months.

Murphy last played competitive rugby in June during the Ireland summer tour to Argentina, while Kearney has been sidelined since the PRO12 semi-final win over Ulster in May.

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With Kearney returning to the left wing and Darragh Fanning continuing on the right, this means a shift to outside centre for Luke Fitzgerald. It is his first start at centre for Leinster since last November’s away victory over the Newport Gwent Dragons.

Inside Fitzgerald will be Noel Reid, while Luke McGrath and Jimmy Gopperth have been retained as the starting half-backs and Zane Kirchner continues at full-back.

Richardt Strauss starts at hooker having been a try scorer for Ireland in last weekend’s GUINNESS Series win over Georgia, while props Michael Bent and Tadhg Furlong start at loosehead and tighthead respectively.

Tom Denton and Kane Douglas are once again selected in the second row. Kevin McLaughlin once again captains the side from the back row, with the fit-again Murphy at openside flanker and Jack Conan stationed at number 8.

Among the replacements is returning prop Jamie Hagan who arrived during the week on a short-term loan deal from London Irish.

LEINSTER (v Benetton Treviso): Zane Kirchner; Darragh Fanning, Luke Fitzgerald, Noel Reid, Dave Kearney; Jimmy Gopperth, Luke McGrath; Michael Bent, Richardt Strauss, Tadhg Furlong, Tom Denton, Kane Douglas, Kevin McLaughlin (capt), Jordi Murphy, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Peter Dooley, Jamie Hagan, Ben Marshall, Dominic Ryan, Isaac Boss, Cathal Marsh, Brendan Macken.