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Ringrose Is Leinster’s Only Change For Bulls Clash

Ringrose Is Leinster’s Only Change For Bulls Clash

Garry Ringrose, who last played against Scotland in March during Ireland's Guinness Men's Six Nations title-winning run, has been battling a troublesome shoulder injury during the second half of the season ©INPHO/Steve Haag Sports/Christiaan Kotze

Back in full training since last week, Garry Ringrose returns to the Leinster team for Saturday’s BKT United Rugby Championship semi-final against the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld (kick-off 4pm local time/3pm Irish time).

Ringrose has recovered from a shoulder injury and will make his first Leinster appearance since January, reuniting with fellow Ireland international Robbie Henshaw in midfield. Jamie Osborne drops to the replacements bench.

That is the only change to the starting XV from last week’s 43-20 quarter-final win over Ulster. James Ryan captains Leinster from the second row again, as they look to improve a poor record of just one victory in South Africa since 2018.

Jordan Larmour, who was selected on the URC Elite XV for the season, continues in the back-three alongside Jimmy O’Brien and James Lowe, and the experienced Henshaw lines out at inside centre for his 100th URC appearance.

Ross Byrne, who has landed 32 of his 37 kicks in the URC this season, and Jamison Gibson-Park complete the back-line, with Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, and Tadhg Furlong backing up from the Aviva Stadium last Saturday.

Joe McCarthy, the player-of-the-match from the quarter-final, packs down again with Ryan in the second row, and with 292 provincial caps between them, Ryan Baird, Josh van der Flier, and Caelan Doris complete a formidable looking pack.

Among the replacements, Jack Conan returns after missing last week’s play-off as a ‘precaution’. Leinster’s reserves also include experienced lock Ross Molony who is moving to Bath in the coming weeks.

Speaking about the big forwards battle that awaits in Pretoria, veteran prop Cian Healy said: “It’s a great test. Any forward should be licking their lips. it’s a proper physical test, you know?

“There’s not going to be many tip-on passes played from them I wouldn’t imagine, carries are going to go up the guts and it’ll be a bit of ‘me versus you’ and that’s a great test for us – how we can band together and deal with that.

“We hit in twos and threes, break them down that way, and that’s a bit of a way where we’ll try and take their legs. Constantly shut the door on them when they try and come down the neck.

“They’ll be physical up front, their scrum, maul and lineout are danger points in how they enter the game.

“If we can put a net over that, deal with it and let the backs do their thing and get involved as much as we can, I think that’s how we get into it. Shut out their scrum, shut out their maul, and that will let us get on top a bit.”

LEINSTER (v Vodacom Bulls): Jimmy O’Brien; Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Joe McCarthy, James Ryan (capt), Ryan Baird, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris.

Replacements: Rónan Kelleher, Cian Healy, Michael Ala’alatoa, Ross Molony, Jack Conan, Luke McGrath, Ciarán Frawley, Jamie Osborne.