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Leavy Back In Leinster Team For Edinburgh Test

Leavy Back In Leinster Team For Edinburgh Test

Dan Leavy and Ciaran Frawley congratulate Leinster replacement prop Ciaran Parker after he touched down against Zebre at the RDS last month ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Dan Leavy is one of five changes to the Leinster team for Monday’s Guinness PRO14 encounter with Edinburgh at the RDS (kick-off 8.15pm).

Leavy has made a successful return in recent weeks from his multi-ligament knee injury, and is now set for his first start since March 2019.

He fills the blindside berth in a back row completed by Scott Penny, who is chasing his fourth try in as games so far this season, and equally-in-form captain Rhys Ruddock.

With Rory O’Loughlin and Tommy O’Brien nursing shoulder and ankle injuries respectively, Academy back Liam Turner (21) will combine with Ciaran Frawley in midfield.

The rest of the back-line is unchanged,  Harry Byrne and Luke McGrath continuing together at half-back with Jimmy O’Brien, Cian Kelleher and Dave Kearney retained as the back-three unit.

Peter Dooley swaps in for fellow Birr native Michael Milne at loosehead prop, while centurion Ross Molony makes way for Devin Toner in the second row.

The ever-dependable Michael Bent, James Tracy and Scott Fardy complete the tight five, and 21-year-old lock Ryan Baird is poised to return off the bench, having recovered from the adductor injury he picked up against Benetton Rugby last month.

Head coach Leo Cullen commented: “We tried to be very patient in terms of Dan’s return, that’s into training and into playing. He’s had three goes now off the bench, he’s come through that well.

“He’s trained well this week, he’s raring to go now. It’s great to see Dan progress. We need to be patient with his return and realistic in terms of what our expectations are after such a long time out of the game.

“Edinburgh, it’s going to be a good challenge for our guys. We had a good ding-dong battle with them during that World Cup period (last year), if you remember that game at the RDS.

“There was that sequence of scrums underneath our posts where we lost a player, Benty, to the sin-bin, and then Joe Tomane to the bin as Edinburgh scored, so we were down to 13 players.

“We’ve touched on that a little bit this week, trying to make sure that the players are prepared for the challenge ahead.

“‘Cockers’ (Richard Cockerill) is a very good coach, I was lucky enough to be coached by him, learnt a huge amount from him. It’ll be a tough challenge for our guys.”

LEINSTER (v Edinburgh): Jimmy O’Brien; Cian Kelleher, Liam Turner, Ciaran Frawley, Dave Kearney; Harry Byrne, Luke McGrath; Peter Dooley, James Tracy, Michael Bent, Devin Toner, Scott Fardy, Dan Leavy, Scott Penny, Rhys Ruddock (capt).

Replacements: Dan Sheehan, Michael Milne, Ciaran Parker, Ross Molony, Josh Murphy, Hugh O’Sullivan, David Hawkshaw, Ryan Baird.