Fresh from his home debut for Ireland, out-half Ross Byrne is one of five personnel changes to the Leinster team for Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO14 encounter with the Dragons at Rodney Parade (kick-off 5.15pm).
While some Ireland internationals return this week, there is a settled look to the team, especially up front where loosehead Ed Byrne, a try-scoring replacement in the 52-7 victory over the Ospreys, is the only change to the pack that lined out last Friday.
Hugo Keenan makes his second start after impressing at full-back seven days ago, with Adam Byrne continuing on the right wing and Dave Kearney coming in on the left. Mullingar’s Conor O’Brien switches to inside centre as he is joined in midfield by Jimmy O’Brien, who made his debut off the bench against the Ospreys.
Newly-capped Ireland international Ross Byrne returns to provincial action at half-back alongside Jamison Gibson-Park, while teenage flanker Scott Penny’s try-scoring debut earns him another start in the back row alongside Josh Murphy and number 8 Caelan Doris.
Australian international Scott Fardy, who continues to set high standards as a talismanic figure in the forwards, captains the province from the second row. Leo Cullen’s selected matchday 23 also features some notable inclusions on the replacements bench.
Prop Andrew Porter returns after a successful spell with Ireland, while former Blackrock College pupil Paddy Patterson is poised to make his debut as reserve scrum half. Patterson, who only turns 20 today, is in his first year in the Leinster Academy.
LEINSTER (v Dragons): Hugo Keenan; Adam Byrne, Jimmy O’Brien, Conor O’Brien, Dave Kearney; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Ed Byrne, James Tracy, Michael Bent, Ross Molony, Scott Fardy (capt), Josh Murphy, Scott Penny, Caelan Doris.
Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Peter Dooley, Andrew Porter, Mick Kearney, Max Deegan, Paddy Patterson, Ciaran Frawley, Tom Daly.