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Leinster Include Moore, Te’o And Ryan

Leinster Include Moore, Te’o And Ryan

After a light Captain’s Run this morning led by Rob Kearney, Leinster head coach Matt O’Connor has announced his team to face Cardiff Blues in the Welsh capital on Saturday (kick-off 2.40pm).

There are 11 changes in total as Matt O’Connor welcomes back some high profile names from injury and also those that have been rested during the last few games.

Squad vice-captain Rob Kearney is back in harness at full-back and leads the side with brother Dave on the left wing and Fergus McFadden selected on the right. The two wingers are the only backs retained from last week’s starting line-up against Ulster.

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In the centre Noel Reid will have Ben Te’o outside him for his third appearance of the season since joining from the South Sydney Rabbitohs. it is Te’o’s first start since fracturing his forearm in the round 7 defeat of Edinburgh in October.

Reid is back for the first time since his man-of-the-match performance against Connacht last month. He had been selected on the bench for the Munster game but illness ruled him out of that and also the Ulster game. Luke McGrath starts at scrum half with Jimmy Gopperth donning the number 10 jersey.

In the pack, it is a completely new front five with a front row full of Ireland internationals as Michael Bent, Sean Cronin and Martin Moore all start. It is Moore’s first involvement since the away trip in October against Zebre. A shoulder injury early in that game has kept him sidelined until now. The second row features Tom Denton and Kane Douglas.

Finally, in the back row, Dominic Ryan (pictured above) has passed his return-to-play protocols having been replaced early in the St. Stephen’s Day clash with Munster. He starts at blindside flanker with Jordi Murphy at openside and Jack Conan, the Bank of Ireland Leinster Player of the Month for December, lining out at number 8.

Leinster Rugby have also confirmed that just over 16,000 tickets have now been sold for the European Champions Cup encounter with Castres Olympique at the RDS on Saturday week (kick-off 5.30pm). Tickets are still on sale here.

LEINSTER (v Cardiff Blues): Rob Kearney (capt); Fergus McFadden, Ben Te’o, Noel Reid, Dave Kearney; Jimmy Gopperth, Luke McGrath; Michael Bent, Sean Cronin, Martin Moore, Tom Denton, Kane Douglas, Dominic Ryan, Jordi Murphy, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Jamie Hagan, Tadhg Furlong, Mike McCarthy, Josh van der Flier, Eoin Reddan, Ian Madigan, Darragh Fanning.