Jump to main content


Cullen Expecting ‘A Very Good Test’ In Pre-Season Opener

Cullen Expecting ‘A Very Good Test’ In Pre-Season Opener

The Leinster team to face US Montauban in their first pre-season match has been named. An extended squad of 28 players will travel to France today ahead of Friday night’s friendly against the Pro D2 side at Stade Sapiac (kick-off 8.30pm local time/7.30pm Irish time).

Rhys Ruddock will captain Leinster for their pre-season opener, which fans can follow via the province’s social media updates. Leinster’s newly-announced vice-captain will skipper the team from a back row which is completed by Josh Murphy and Max Deegan.

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

New signing Joe Tomane will make his first appearance in the blue of Leinster when he starts at inside centre against Montauban. The 17-times capped Australia international links up with Rory O’Loughlin to form a new-look midfield pairing.

Speaking to Leinster Rugby TV ahead of the game, head coach Leo Cullen said: “The majority of the group that are playing this weekend came back in the middle of June. They did a three-week block at that stage, had another break and came back, so they’ve done a fair amount.

“It’ll be nice to put into practice some of the things we’ve worked on over the course of pre-season. We have 28 players that are going to travel to France. It’s a good opportunity for these lads to put their hand up nice and early in the season.”

Montauban finished second at the end of the 2017/18 Pro D2 regular season which meant they qualified for the promotion play-off semi-finals. There they lost out to Grenoble who ultimately won promotion to the Top 14 Championship.

Cullen added: “They are a big physical team and it should be a good test. They get good crowds over there as well. Conditions are difficult this time of year in the south of France. Overall it should be a very, very good test for us.

“The teams like Perpignan last season and Montauban, they’re a little more advanced than we are in terms of this being the third pre-season game that they’ve played. It was the same with Perpignan last year. Their season starts next week, so there’s a probably a bit more urgency about what they’re doing. They’ve probably built a bit of the cohesion that we’re trying to establish now at this stage.”

The pre-season clash with Montauban will also be the first time that Leinster have worn the new adidas home jersey. The defending European and PRO14 champions’ new kit was revealed on Wednesday and is exclusively available to pre-order now from www.lifestylesports.com before arriving in stores on Thursday, August 16.

Meanwhile, tickets for Leinster’s second and final pre-season friendly, against Newcastle Falcons at Energia Park in Donnybrook next Friday, August 17 (kick-off 7pm), are available to buy now from Ticketmaster from €;10.

LEINSTER (v Montauban): James Lowe; Adam Byrne, Rory O’Loughlin, Joe Tomane, Barry Daly; Noel Reid, Nick McCarthy; Peter Dooley, Bryan Byrne, Michael Bent, Ross Molony, Ian Nagle, Josh Murphy, Rhys Ruddock (capt), Max Deegan.

Replacements: James Tracy, Ed Byrne, Vakh Abdaladze, Mick Kearney, Will Connors, Jamison Gibson-Park, Jimmy O’Brien, Dave Kearney, Oisin Dowling, Conor O’Brien, Tom Daly, Jack Kelly, Gavin Mullin.