The Leinster ‘A’ team to face Bristol at Donnybrook on Friday night (kick-off 7.30pm) in the British & Irish Cup has been announced.
Bryan Byrne once again captains the side, lining out in a front row trio with his brother Ed and experienced tighthead Michael Bent. The fit-again Ross Molony comes in to start in the second row with Ian Nagle.
Josh Murphy moves from the second row to blindside flanker, with Peadar Timmins, one of the try scorers in last Friday’s 46-35 victory over Bristol at Ashton Gate, moves to number 8 and Will Connors is retained at openside flanker.
There are just two changes to the back-line from the bonus point success away to the English Championship leaders. Nick McCarthy comes in to start at scrum half in place of Charlie Rock, who reverts to the bench, while Ireland Sevens international Hugo Keenan start on the right wing in a straight swap with Jack Kelly.
Heading into this reverse fixture with Pat Lam’s men, the Leinster ‘A’ side currently top Pool 2 of the B&I Cup with 15 points after three rounds, with Doncaster Knights on 10 points and Bristol on six.
Speaking ahead of Friday’s encounter, Leinster ‘A’ head coach Noel McNamara said: “I think that was a bonus for us to get the five points (at Ashton Gate). We knew the challenge we faced going over there and that’s exactly what we were confronted with. We were disappointed, obviously, to concede 35 points, but equally we were very pleased to come out on the right side of the result.
“We’re under no illusions. We don’t have to cast our minds back too far to last year when we had a commanding victory over the Scarlets Premiership Select and then the following week we came out on the wrong side of the result.
“We’re certainly not taking anything for granted. The boys have worked hard in the early part of the week. We’re looking forward to the challenge that Bristol will bring. We have absolutely no doubt that they’re going to throw everything at us.”
Supporters attending Leinster ‘A’ v Bristol can pay at the gate at Donnybrook on Friday night, starting from €;10 for adults and €;5 for under-18s. Leinster Rugby Season Ticket holders can gain entry by presenting their Season Ticket card at the gate.
LEINSTER ‘A’ (v Bristol): Ciaran Frawley; Hugo Keenan, Gavin Mullin, Conor O’Brien, Tommy O’Brien; Cathal Marsh, Nick McCarthy; Ed Byrne, Bryan Byrne (capt), Michael Bent, Ross Molony, Ian Nagle, Josh Murphy, Will Connors, Peadar Timmins.
Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Peter Dooley, Jack Aungier, Oisin Dowling, Caelan Doris, Charlie Rock, Jack Kelly.