Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made seven personnel changes and two positional switches to the team for Friday’s GUINNESS PRO14 tussle with the Ospreys at the RDS (kick-off 7.35pm).
With a number of players still on Ireland duty, there are opportunities for other players to state their case. There could be as many as three senior debuts over the course of the 80 minutes with seven players from the Leinster Academy in the matchday 23.
In the backs, Leo Cullen has named UCD and Leinster Academy player Hugo Keenan at full-back for his first start in the senior ranks, with Adam Byrne, who won his first Ireland cap twelve months ago, on the right wing and James Lowe on the left.
Conor O’Brien and Noel Reid will line up together in midfield, with Reid making the switch from out-half where he played in Leinster’s 38-31 bonus point win at the Isuzu Southern Kings last time out. Skerries youngster Ciaran Frawley and Nick McCarthy fill the half-back berths.
Up front, Peter Dooley comes into the front row alongside Ireland internationals James Tracy and Michael Bent, while Ross Molony and Scott Fardy are retained in the second row with the experienced Australian international continuing as captain.
19-year-old former St. Michael’s College student Scott Penny makes his senior debut at openside flanker having impressed during the Leinster ‘A’ team’s successful Celtic Cup campaign, scoring eight tries across the seven games in the development competition.
Penny is in his first year in the Leinster Academy and is joined in the back row by blindside Josh Murphy and Caelan Doris, at number 8, who makes his first start at the RDS. The uncapped Jimmy O’Brien and Jack Kelly are included on the bench, both players impressing during the Celtic Cup title win with Kelly the captain.
LEINSTER (v Ospreys): Hugo Keenan; Adam Byrne, Conor O’Brien, Noel Reid, James Lowe; Ciaran Frawley, Nick McCarthy; Peter Dooley, James Tracy, Michael Bent, Ross Molony, Scott Fardy (capt), Josh Murphy, Scott Penny, Caelan Doris.
Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Ed Byrne, Vakh Abdaladze, Mick Kearney, Max Deegan, Hugh O’Sullivan, Jimmy O’Brien, Jack Kelly.