Michael Bent will win his 100th Leinster cap when the province face Edinburgh at Myreside in Friday’s GUINNESS PRO14 clash (kick-off 7.35pm).
Capped by Ireland on four occasions between 2012 and 2015, Michael Bent made his Leinster debut in a 37-7 win over Zebre at the RDS in December 2012 and has gone on to represent the province 22 times in Europe and 77 times in the PRO14.
Speaking of Bent’s 100-cap milestone this week, Leinster scrum coach John Fogarty said: “One of the qualities that Michael has – he’s a quiet character – but he goes to work. He has worked on his game, he’s worked on his scrum, and he’s improved hugely. He’s very important for us.
“We’ve seen him over the years play both sides of the scrum, so he’s shown himself to be versatile. He’s improved his game, and he’s adapted to different coaches that have come in. Credit to Michael. I’m delighted for him and his family that he’s reached 100 caps.”
Bent will start at tighthead prop on Friday night, with Peter Dooley the starting loosehead. Richardt Strauss completes the front row and will captain Leinster at the PRO14 campaign resumes at the round 14 stage.
Ireland Sevens international Will Connors will make his senior Leinster debut in Scotland, starting at openside flanker. He is joined by Josh Murphy, who made his bow back in November, and Max Deegan to complete a youthful back row trio. Second rows Ross Molony and Scott Fardy complete the pack.
Rory O’Loughlin and Noel Reid will combine at centre for Leo Cullen’s men, with Ross Byrne and Jamison Gibson-Park getting the nod at half-back. Dave Kearney will start at full-back for Leinster for the first time since February 2015, with Barry Daly on the left wing.
Fergus McFadden and Luke McGrath, who were part of the Ireland matchday 23 in Paris last Saturday, have both been released from Ireland camp for the Edinburgh match. McFadden will start on the right wing and McGrath has been named among the replacements.
On the bench, versatile young back Ciaran Frawley is in line to make his senior debut for the province. Frawley featured for Leinster ‘A’ in all six of their British & Irish Cup pool games this season, playing at out-half, inside centre and full-back, helping Noel McNamara’s young side to top their pool.
Returning winger Adam Byrne also features on the bench and is set for his first outing with Leinster since making his Ireland debut in November and then undergoing knee surgery. The Kill native has not played at provincial level since the defeat away to Glasgow Warriors on November 3.
LEINSTER (v Edinburgh): Dave Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Rory O’Loughlin, Noel Reid, Barry Daly; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Peter Dooley, Richardt Strauss (capt), Michael Bent, Ross Molony, Scott Fardy, Josh Murphy, Will Connors, Max Deegan.
Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Ed Byrne, Oisin Heffernan, Mick Kearney, Peadar Timmins, Luke McGrath, Ciaran Frawley, Adam Byrne.