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Sexton Captains Leinster For Opening Home Game

Sexton Captains Leinster For Opening Home Game

Out-half and captain Jonathan Sexton is among the latest bunch of Ireland internationals to return to provincial duty for Leinster’s GUINNESS PRO14 match against the Dragons at the RDS (kick-off 5.15pm).

Before the game Leinster Rugby Season Ticket Holders will be able to collect their season ticket packs from 3pm and for a further hour after the final whistle. In addition, those that attend the Dragons match at the RDS will be able to use their season ticket or their match ticket to gain entry to Energia Park for the IRFU Women’s Interprovincial title decider between Leinster and Munster (kick-off 7.30pm).

New club captain Jonathan Sexton will make his seasonal bow for Leinster against the Welsh region, while a number of other international players are also selected for the first time this term in the province’s matchday 23. Tickets are available to purchase here.

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Rob Kearney comes in for his first appearance of the current campaign at full-back, which means that Jordan Larmour moves to the right wing and Rob’s younger brother Dave takes the left wing berth. Garry Ringrose slots in at outside centre alongside Robbie Henshaw and Jamison Gibson-Park partners Sexton at half-back.

Ed Byrne, who lined out for Leinster ‘A’ in the Celtic Cup last week, gets the nod at loosehead prop, while Andrew Porter is promoted from the bench to the tighthead role, and hooker Sean Cronin and number 8 Jack Conan are the only players retained up front.

There are two more seasonal debutants included in the shape of James Ryan and Josh van der Flier, the former linking up with Scott Fardy in the second row. Leinster and Ireland fans are looking forward to seeing flanker van der Flier back in action for the first time since his ACL injury against France last February. 

On the bench there is a possible debut for 20-year-old Meath-born Academy scrum half Hugh O’Sullivan, who is poised to become the province’s 1270th senior player, while Caelan Doris is in line for his first Leinster appearance at the RDS after two outings on the road. Peter Dooley will also win his 50th cap if introduced.

LEINSTER (v Dragons): Rob Kearney; Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Dave Kearney; Jonathan Sexton (capt), Jamison Gibson-Park; Ed Byrne, Sean Cronin, Andrew Porter, Scott Fardy, James Ryan, Max Deegan, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Peter Dooley, Tadhg Furlong, Ross Molony, Caelan Doris, Hugh O’Sullivan, Noel Reid, Joe Tomane.