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Molony To Become Leinster’s Latest Centurion

Molony To Become Leinster’s Latest Centurion

Ross Molony, who has captained Leinster on a number of occasions, is pictured in action against Connacht last season ©INPHO/James Crombie

Second row Ross Molony will win his 100th Leinster cap when the Conference A leaders face the Ospreys in Swansea on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).

There will also be a father-son showdown for the Guinness PRO14 round 5 tie, with Rhys Ruddock captaining Leinster for the third successive game, while his father Mike is the Ospreys’ development director.

The visitors will field an unchanged back-line, led by half-backs Harry Byrne and Luke McGrath who contributed 17 points between them during last Monday’s bonus point win in Glasgow.

Jimmy O’Brien, Cian Kelleher and Dave Kearney make up the back-three again, and Rory O’Loughlin and Tommy O’Brien, keeping hold of the number 12 jersey, will threaten from midfield.

Birr youngster Michael Milne, a member of the Leinster Academy, comes in at loosehead prop for his first start after 11 games off the bench.

Scott Fardy is the only other personnel change, with the tight five completed by James Tracy, Michael Bent and the 26-year-old Molony, who reaches the century mark in his seventh season.

For the province’s latest trip to the Liberty Stadium, skipper Ruddock anchors an in-form back row which again features Josh Murphy and Scott Penny in the flanker positions.

Speaking about his personal milestone this week, Molony said: “(My debut back in 2015) seems like a very long time ago. I think I came on for Shane Jennings against Zebre in the RDS, absolutely s***ting myself!

“It’s been incredible. I have loved every minute of it. I have loved playing for this team, and to reach that milestone is great.

“And to do it again with the group around me, who I’m so familiar with, some of my best-mates, it’s a very proud moment.”

Leinster backs coach Felipe Contepomi added: “It’s a great achievement by Ross. What he represents, it’s kind of like a true representation of Leinster, his commitment to the province and so on.

“He should be proud and his family should be proud, because it’s a great achievement, and for us, it’s having another guy in the centurion club. A few weeks ago Dev (Toner) reached 250, Dave (Kearney) reached 150, and now Ross on 100.

“It speaks a lot about Leinster Rugby, what the guys feel for the province and how they’ve committed themselves in their playing career.”

LEINSTER (v Ospreys): Jimmy O’Brien; Cian Kelleher, Rory O’Loughlin, Tommy O’Brien, Dave Kearney; Harry Byrne, Luke McGrath; Michael Milne, James Tracy, Michael Bent, Ross Molony, Scott Fardy, Josh Murphy, Scott Penny, Rhys Ruddock (capt).

Replacements: Dan Sheehan, Peter Dooley, Ciaran Parker, Devin Toner, Dan Leavy, Hugh O’Sullivan, David Hawkshaw, Liam Turner.