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Turner To Make Seasonal Debut For Leinster In Galway

Turner To Make Seasonal Debut For Leinster In Galway

Liam Turner is pictured training with the Leinster squad at Energia Park earlier this week ©INPHO/Tom Maher

Ireland Sevens international Liam Turner comes into the Leinster team to play Connacht in Friday’s BKT United Rugby Championship derby match at the Sportsground (kick-off 7.35pm).

Head coach Leo Cullen has made ten personnel changes to the side that won 54-34 against the Cell C Sharks. Garry Ringrose, who scored two tries off the bench last Saturday, is back to start as captain.

Ringrose swaps in for Robbie Henshaw in midfield, Turner replaces the injured Jordan Larmour (foot) on the right wing, and Ross Byrne is joined at half-back by Cormac Foley who is set for his first start of the season.

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Ireland star Tadhg Furlong is back in blue, coming in for his first appearance of the campaign. He will pack down with Ed Byrne and in-form hooker Dan Sheehan, while James Ryan links up with Ross Molony at lock.

There is a freshened up back row of Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan. Doris has come through the graduated return-to-play protocols, and number 8 Conan has shaken off the back injury that forced his withdrawal last week.

After scoring his first try for Leinster last week, 22-year-old Academy hooker John McKee is once again in the matchday squad. Andrew Porter and Michael Ala’alatoa are the other front row reserves.

Joe McCarthy and Ciaran Frawley, who has recovered from a shoulder injury, are back in the squad after Emerging Ireland’s successful tour of South Africa. They are joined on the bench by Martin Moloney, Nick McCarthy and Henshaw.

Speaking ahead of the trip to Galway, Leinster’s stand-in skipper Ringrose said: “The Sportsground is one of the toughest games to go in Ireland, in the URC. We had Connacht in Europe last year, and were quite lucky to come out with a win in that first leg.

“It’s one of the toughest places to go, and you need to be at your best if you want to beat them. They’ve had a slower start to the season, but you can see them getting better and better with every game.

“It was evident in their win against Munster and how they managed to grind it out. Jack Carty said after the game they were probably operating at about 60%, so their ceiling is still a lot higher than the level they’re at.

“For us, the challenge is to dust ourselves off, get right and prepare as best we can. That’s what we’ll need to do to beat them.”

LEINSTER (v Connacht): Jimmy O’Brien; Liam Turner, Garry Ringrose (capt), Charlie Ngatai, Rob Russell; Ross Byrne, Cormac Foley; Ed Byrne, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Ross Molony, James Ryan, Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.

Replacements: John McKee, Andrew Porter, Michael Ala’alatoa, Joe McCarthy, Martin Moloney, Nick McCarthy, Ciaran Frawley, Robbie Henshaw.