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Luke McGrath Takes Captaincy Reins For Leinster’s Benetton Test

Luke McGrath Takes Captaincy Reins For Leinster’s Benetton Test

The 108-times capped Luke McGrath will captain Leinster for their round 19 encounter with Benetton Rugby at the RDS ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Luke McGrath, who captains the team, and Scott Fardy are the only players retained from Leinster’s Heineken Cup quarter-final triumph over Ulster, as a much-changed side is selected to play Benetton Rugby in the GUINNESS PRO14 at the RDS on Saturday (kick-off 7.45pm).

Already assured of a home semi-final, head coach Leo Cullen has taken the opportunity to rotate his squad with Barry Daly, Fergus McFadden and James Lowe forming the back-three. Mullingar’s Conor O’Brien, who has scored two tries in his last four games, pairs up with Joe Tomane in midfield.

Noel Reid will make his second start of the season in the number 10 jersey, while an all-new front row sees Jack McGrath, whose summer move to Ulster was announced this week, pack down with James Tracy and Andrew Porter. Fresh from his 50th appearance for the province, Mick Kearney joins Fardy in the second row.

The starting back row has an average age of 22 with Josh Murphy, Max Deegan and number 8 Caelan Doris, who turned 21 on Tuesday, completing the 13 personnel changes from the Ulster game. Named on the bench, fellow back rower Scott Penny also features in the matchday squad for the first time since winning the Grand Slam with the Ireland Under-20s.

Tickets for Leinster v Benetton Rugby – the province’s penultimate home game of the PRO14’s league phase – are on sale online here from Ticketmaster. Tickets will also be available from the Ticketmaster van which will be positioned just inside the Anglesea Road gate from 6.15pm on match night.

LEINSTER (v Benetton Rugby): Barry Daly; Fergus McFadden, Conor O’Brien, Joe Tomane, James Lowe; Noel Reid, Luke McGrath (capt); Jack McGrath, James Tracy, Andrew Porter, Mick Kearney, Scott Fardy, Josh Murphy, Max Deegan, Caelan Doris.

Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Peter Dooley, Michael Bent, Jack Dunne, Scott Penny, Hugh O’Sullivan, Ciaran Frawley, Jimmy O’Brien.