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Leinster Include 13 RWC Players For Treviso Test

Leinster Include 13 RWC Players For Treviso Test

After training this morning in UCD, Leinster head coach Leo Cullen announced the team to face Benetton Treviso in the GUINNESS PRO12 at Stadio di Monigo on Sunday (kick-off 4pm local time/3pm Irish time).

Leo Cullen also confirmed that Isa Nacewa had been installed as Leinster club captain on a permanent basis. Following the retirement of Kevin McLaughlin, Nacewa, who has 131 caps for the province, had taken up the role on an interim basis during the Rugby World Cup phase. Jamie Heaslip and Jonathan Sexton will be Leinster’s vice-captains for the season ahead.

In team news, there are nine changes to the starting line-up with a host of Ireland internationals returning and a debut in the second row for New Zealander Hayden Triggs. In all, 13 of Leinster’s 20 Rugby World Cup representatives have been selected in the matchday squad.

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Nacewa captains the side from full-back with Fergus McFadden again selected on the right wing. Dave Kearney, who made four starts during the Rugby World Cup and scored a try against Canada, comes onto the left wing.

Ben Te’o and Luke Fitzgerald start in the centre for the first time together, although they have played there before in the PRO12 last season at home to the Dragons when Fitzgerald came off the bench early in the game for Noel Reid.

Eoin Reddan makes his first start in blue of the season. Sexton joins him at half-back for his first Leinster appearance since his move back from Racing 92.

Sexton has 110 Leinster caps to date and 1,027 points and it will be a first game for Leinster for the 30-year-old since May 2013 when they beat Ulster in the PRO12 decider.

In the forwards, it is a completely new front row as Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin and Tadhg Furlong all start for the first time this season. Furlong featured off the bench last weekend against Glasgow Warriors.

6ft 7in former Auckland Blues lock Triggs (pictured above) makes his debut alongside Mike McCarthy, who starts for the fifth time this season. Rhys Ruddock continues at blindside flanker, while Jordi Murphy comes in at openside. Wicklow man Jack Conan completes the pack at number 8.

Richardt Strauss, Cian Healy and Devin Toner are all in line to make their seasonal bows from the bench as Leinster go in search of a first away win of the campaign.

LEINSTER (v Benetton Treviso): Isa Nacewa (capt); Fergus McFadden, Ben Te’o, Luke Fitzgerald, Dave Kearney; Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Hayden Triggs, Mike McCarthy, Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Cian Healy, Martin Moore, Devin Toner, Josh van der Flier, Luke McGrath, Cathal Marsh, Noel Reid.