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Josh Murphy Handed First Start For Leinster

Josh Murphy Handed First Start For Leinster

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has announced his team to take on Dragons in the GUINNESS PRO14 at the RDS on Friday (kick-off 7.35pm). 

The Leinster management are able to recall a number of players from injury, including captain Isa Nacewa, as well as handing a first senior start to Josh Murphy. Leo Cullen also welcomes back Jordi Murphy, Andrew Porter and Jack Conan who lined out for Ireland against Fiji last Saturday. 

Jordan Larmour starts at full-back with Fergus McFadden selected on the right wing having recovered from a hamstring injury. The fit-again Nacewa leads the province from the left wing, on his first Leinster start since the loss to the the Toyota Cheetahs in September.

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Noel Reid comes in to partner Rory O’Loughlin in the centre – the fourth time this season they have been paired together – while Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne are the selected half-backs again. 

Up front, Ed Byrne, Sean Cronin and Michael Bent combine in the front row with Ross Molony and Scott Fardy, who reverts from the blindside flanker position, behind them in the second row.

There is a first start for the 22-year-old Josh Murphy who made his debut against Glasgow Warriors off the bench. The UCD clubman is joined in the back row by Jordi Murphy, who returns from international duty, and number 8 Max Deegan.

Westmeath youngster Conor O’Brien, who is part of a strong bench line-up, is also in line to make his first ever appearance at the RDS, with the province’s forward options including Porter and Conan, two of Ireland’s starters against the flying Fijians. 

Should he be introduced off the bench, Richardt Strauss will win his 150th cap for Leinster, and there is also a first involvement of the season for Ian Nagle who has returned from a pectoral muscle injury.

Tickets for Leinster’s return to GUINNESS PRO14 action against Bernard Jackman’s Dragons on Friday night are available to buy here.

LEINSTER (v Dragons): Jordan Larmour; Fergus McFadden, Rory O’Loughlin, Noel Reid, Isa Nacewa (capt); Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Ed Byrne, Sean Cronin, Michael Bent, Ross Molony, Scott Fardy, Josh Murphy, Jordi Murphy, Max Deegan.

Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Peter Dooley, Andrew Porter, Ian Nagle, Jack Conan, Nick McCarthy, Cathal Marsh, Conor O’Brien.