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Leinster Ring The Changes For Connacht Match

Leinster Ring The Changes For Connacht Match

Head coach Leo Cullen has named the Leinster team to play Connacht in Saturday night’s GUINNESS PRO12 derby game at the Sportsground (kick-off 7.35pm).

There are 11 changes to the side from last weekend’s last-gasp 20-18 win away to the Ospreys, which sees the table toppers with a nine-point gap to the third-placed Welsh region in the PRO12 table.

Rhys Ruddock moves to number 8 and will captain Leinster in Galway, with Dominic Ryan coming in at blindside flanker and Josh van der Flier once again starting at openside.

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In an all-new tight five, Ross Molony and Hayden Triggs make up the second row pairing, while Ireland internationals Cian Healy, James Tracy and Mike Ross, who made his 150th Leinster appearance in Swansea, will pack down together in the front row.

Zane Kirchner and Rory O’Loughlin are the only two backs retained from last Saturday’s victory in Wales. Kirchner shifts from outside centre to full-back and O’Loughlin will don the number 13 jersey, partnered by Noel Reid in midfield. Dave Kearney and Adam Byrne complete the back-three and Ross Byrne, the drop goal hero against the Ospreys, and Luke McGrath will combine at half-back.

A victory for Leinster out west could secure a home semi-final in the PRO12 final series if the Ospreys do not win their Judgement Day match against Cardiff Blues, and the Scarlets fail to take maximum points from their game against the Newport Gwent Dragons.

LEINSTER (v Connacht): Zane Kirchner; Adam Byrne, Rory O’Loughlin, Noel Reid, Dave Kearney; Ross Byrne, Luke McGrath; Cian Healy, James Tracy, Mike Ross, Ross Molony, Hayden Triggs, Dominic Ryan, Josh van der Flier, Rhys Ruddock (capt).

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Peter Dooley, Michael Bent, Ian Nagle, Peadar Timmins, Nick McCarthy, Tom Daly, Barry Daly.