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Ringrose Returns For Leinster As Lowe Handed Debut On Wing

Ringrose Returns For Leinster As Lowe Handed Debut On Wing

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has announced his team to play Benetton Rugby in Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO14 encounter at Stadio di Monigo (kick-off 4.30pm local time/3.30pm Irish time).

Similar to last week against the Dragons, Leo Cullen is able to welcome back a number of players from injury in addition to a few players from international duty, while he also hands a debut to James Lowe, who recently arrived from New Zealand.

Leinster Academy back Jordan Larmour continues in the number 15 jersey but there are changes on both wings. Dave Kearney comes in on the right with Maori All Blacks star Lowe coming in on the left.

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Lowe arrived from Super Rugby side the Chiefs, who reached the semi-finals of the southern hemisphere competition this year. The 25-year-old played in 16 Super Rugby matches this season, scoring 11 tries. After the Super Rugby season finished, he competed in the New Zealand Provincial competition, the Mitre 10 Cup, helping his team Tasman to reach the final.

Noel Reid is again selected at inside centre while Garry Ringrose returns from a shoulder injury to make his first appearance of the season. Luke McGrath is back to captain the province from scrum half with Ross Byrne, the man-of-the-match against the Dragons, outside him at out-half.

In the pack Jack McGrath and James Tracy return in Leinster colours for their first involvement since the GUINNESS Series, joining Andrew Porter, who started for Ireland against Fiji recently, in the front row.

Ian Nagle makes his first start of the campaign, combining with Scott Fardy in the second row, while there is an all-Ireland international combination in the back row with Jordi Murphy, Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan completing the pack. It will be van der Flier’s first game back since injuring his ankle against Glasgow Warriors in October.

Young prop Vakh Abdaladze is in line to make his senior debut for Leinster should he be introduced off the bench in Italy. The 21-year-old former Ireland Under-20 international plays his club rugby with Clontarf in the Ulster Bank League.

LEINSTER (v Benetton Rugby): Jordan Larmour; Dave Kearney, Garry Ringrose, Noel Reid, James Lowe; Ross Byrne, Luke McGrath (capt); Jack McGrath, James Tracy, Andrew Porter, Ian Nagle, Scott Fardy, Jordi Murphy, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Ed Byrne, Vakh Abdaladze, Mick Kearney, Max Deegan, Nick McCarthy, Fergus McFadden, Rory O’Loughlin.