Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has announced his team to face the Newport Gwent Dragons in Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO12 game at the RDS (kick-off 7.35pm).
Tickets for Leinster v Newport Gwent Dragons are still on sale at leinsterrugby.ie/tickets or from the ticket office located just inside the Anglesea Road gate from 6.05pm.
There is a welcome return from international duty for a number of players, while it could be a very special day for a few others who are in line to make their debuts off the bench. In total, there are three changes in the backs with another four in the pack.
Props Peter Dooley and Michael Bent continue at loosehead and tighthead respectively, but recent Ireland debutant James Tracy will start this week having come off the bench last weekend against the Scarlets.
There is a new second row pairing in Ross Molony and Hayden Triggs, while in the back row there is a further change with Rhys Ruddock replacing the injured Dominic Ryan at blindside flanker. Dan Leavy and number 8 Jack Conan complete the starting forwards.
In the backs, Zane Kirchner features at full-back so captain Isa Nacewa reverts to the left wing and Adam Byrne continues on the right having scored a try in each of his last three outings with Leinster. With five tries to his name for the season, the UCD winger is third in the PRO12 try-scoring charts.
It is a St. Michael’s combination again in the centre as Noel Reid and Rory O’Loughlin continue in the number 12 and 13 jerseys respectively, while Luke McGrath and Joey Carbery link up together at half-back, having made their international debuts during the recent autumn schedule.
Two Leinster Academy players, Lansdowne’s Max Deegan and Charlie Rock from Old Belvedere, are in line to make their senior debuts for the province as replacements. In addition, prop Jeremy Loughman is involved in a matchday squad for the first time this season.
LEINSTER (v Newport Gwent Dragons): Zane Kirchner; Adam Byrne, Rory O’Loughlin, Noel Reid, Isa Nacewa (capt); Joey Carbery, Luke McGrath; Peter Dooley, James Tracy, Michael Bent, Ross Molony, Hayden Triggs, Rhys Ruddock, Dan Leavy, Jack Conan.
Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Andrew Porter, Jeremy Loughman, Mike McCarthy, Max Deegan, Charlie Rock, Ross Byrne, Tom Daly.