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Sexton Takes Captaincy Reins As Four Lions Return For Leinster

Sexton Takes Captaincy Reins As Four Lions Return For Leinster

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has announced the team for Friday night’s GUINNESS PRO14 match against Edinburgh at the RDS (kick-off 7.35pm).

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There is a welcome return for a number of players, in particular four Leinstermen who toured New Zealand with the British & Irish Lions during the summer.

Joey Carbery is selected at full-back for the third game in a row, with Dave Kearney continuing on the left wing with Fergus McFadden making his first start of the campaign on the opposite flank. He has recovered from a hamstring injury picked up ahead of the recent win over the Southern Kings.

Noel Reid and Rory O’Loughlin form an all-St. Michael’s College centre pairing, while another former St. Michael’s pupil, Luke McGrath, starts at scrum half having recovered from an arm injury.

The first of the returning Lions players sees Jonathan Sexton captain the province from number 10. Friday’s game could be extra special for Sexton as he is only nine points away from becoming Leinster’s all-time highest points scorer. Felipe Contepomi currently sits on top with 1225 points, with Sexton on 1217.

Up front, another two Lions line out with Jack McGrath and Tadhg Furlong making their seasonal bows, starting either side of fellow Ireland international Sean Cronin. Scott Fardy and Devin Toner both return to the second row having missed the two-match tour of South Africa.

Sean O’Brien is the final Lions addition, slotting back in at number 8 in a back row completed by Rhys Ruddock and Jordi Murphy. The trio have 332 Leinster caps between them, with Ruddock leading the way with 134 appearances so far.

LEINSTER (v Edinburgh): Joey Carbery; Fergus McFadden, Rory O’Loughlin, Noel Reid, Dave Kearney; Jonathan Sexton (capt), Luke McGrath; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, Scott Fardy, Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, Sean O’Brien.

Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Ed Byrne, Andrew Porter, Ross Molony, Max Deegan, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Jordan Larmour.