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Ruddock Returns As One Of Seven Leinster Changes

Ruddock Returns As One Of Seven Leinster Changes

After the Captain’s Run in UCD this morning, Leinster head coach Matt O’Connor has announced the team to face the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium on Friday (kick-off 7.35pm).

In total there are seven changes to the team that beat Zebre with a try-scoring bonus point at the RDS last Friday, with a number of players being retained by the Irish management ahead of the England game.

Some other players have been released from the squad of 37 announced by Joe Schmidt earlier in the week and will travel over to Wales later on today.

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Zane Kirchner continues at full-back with Fergus McFadden selected on the right wing for his 120th Leinster cap. Dave Kearney starts on the opposite wing having come off the bench last weekend.

Gordon D’Arcy and Ben Te’o are once again selected in the centre, while Isaac Boss captains the side from scrum half with Jimmy Gopperth, who scored a try and four successful kicks for a 14-point haul against Zebre, continuing in the number 10 jersey.

In the pack, Richardt Strauss features at hooker with Tadhg Furlong also coming in from the start at tighthead prop and Michael Bent lining out at loosehead. Tom Denton starts in the second row alongside Kane Douglas who makes his 19th appearance in blue since arriving from the Waratahs in the summer.

In the back row there are two changes with Rhys Ruddock returning from injury to start at blindside flanker, while Josh van der Flier makes his second start of the season at openside. It is Ruddock’s first start since injuring his arm in the European Champions Cup win over Harlequins in December. Jack Conan continues from the base of the scrum.

On the bench Clontarf clubman Royce Burke-Flynn is in line to make his Leinster senior debut having previously been a member of the Leinster Academy. Burke-Flynn has already played for Leinster ‘A’ team this season in the British & Irish Cup against Carmarthen Quins and Plymouth Albion.

The next Leinster home game is against Glasgow Warriors at the RDS on Friday, March 27. Tickets for the Glasgow clash and the Champions Cup quarter-final against Bath, a week later on April 4, are now on sale at www.leinsterrugby.ie/tickets.

LEINSTER (v Ospreys): Zane Kirchner; Fergus McFadden, Ben Te’o, Gordon D’Arcy, Dave Kearney; Jimmy Gopperth, Isaac Boss (capt); Michael Bent, Richardt Strauss, Tadhg Furlong, Tom Denton, Kane Douglas, Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Peter Dooley, Royce Burke-Flynn, Ben Marshall, Dominic Ryan, Luke McGrath, Noel Reid, Darragh Fanning.