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Leinster Make Six Changes For Treviso Trip

Leinster Make Six Changes For Treviso Trip

Leinster's Hugo Keenan, pictured in Guinness PRO14 semi-final action last month, is one of six uncapped players named in the Ireland Guinness Six Nations squad this week ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Garry Ringrose will captain Leinster from midfield as they play their first game away from Dublin since last February’s trip to the Gnoll.

Thirteen members of the newly-named Ireland Guinness Six Nations squad are included for the reigning Guinness PRO14 champions’ second round encounter with Benetton Rugby at Stadio di Monigo on Saturday (kick-off 6.15pm local time/5.15pm Irish time).

There will also be game-time in Treviso for James Lowe, James Tracy and Harry Byrne who have been invited to train with Andy Farrell’s men at the IRFU High Performance Centre in Dublin next week.

It is the same Leinster back-three that started last week’s 35-5 bonus point victory over the Dragons, with Lowe on the left wing, Jordan Larmour on the right and Hugo Keenan, one of six uncapped players in the Ireland squad, continuing at full-back.

Centre Robbie Henshaw makes his first appearance of the new season alongside skipper Ringrose, while Ireland prospect Jamison Gibson-Park is joined by Ross Byrne at half-back. Both Ringrose and Lowe are in the running for the Zurich Irish Rugby Players’ Player of the Year award.

James Tracy, Ryan Baird, one of the province’s first-round try scorers, Caelan Doris and Will Connors all come into the starting pack, the latter pair linking up with number 8 Jack Conan in the loose forwards.

Ed Byrne, Michael Bent and James Ryan complete the tight five, while highly-rated 20-year-old Academy prop Tom Clarkson is poised to make his second senior appearance for the Leinstermen off the bench.

Second row Ryan commented: “My last away game for Leinster was in Treviso as well (a Heineken Champions Cup pool win last January). It will even feel weird getting on a plane again. I’m enjoying the last few weeks so it’s all good. it’s exciting to be going away and playing again.

In terms of playing away from home, like always, I think physically you’ve got to front up, particularly this week. They’ve a team of huge physical men. I think when we played them in the RDS last season in Europe, we had something like 20 ineffective rucks.

“They go hard with the ball, strong in the set piece as well so I think if we’re not strong in the contact and strong in those areas, it could be a long day for us.”

LEINSTER (v Benetton Rugby): Hugo Keenan; Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose (capt), Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Ed Byrne, James Tracy, Michael Bent, Ryan Baird, James Ryan, Caelan Doris, Will Connors, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Tom Clarkson, Ross Molony, Rhys Ruddock, Luke McGrath, Harry Byrne, Jimmy O’Brien.