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PREVIEW: Leinster Make Changes for Cheetahs

Leinster have switched up their team for the weekend with some big names coming back in

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Leinster have welcomed back some stars for the visit of the Cheetahs to the RDS on Friday at 19 35.

Leo Cullen has been able to recall the likes of Rhys Ruddock, Dave Kearney and Adam Byrne to the starting XV as his side prepare for the Cheetahs challenge.

The front-row sees a complete overhaul to last weekend’s 59-19 win over the Southern Kings with Peter Dooley, Bryan Byrne, and Michael Bent replacing Ed Byrne, Ronan Kelleher and Andrew Porter.

Byrne and Porter take up places on the bench.

Ross Molony retains his place once more following a fine run of form but is joined by Scott Fardy in the second-row who comes in for Mick Kearney.

Captain Ruddock is at six, with Josh Murphy moving to the bench, while Max Deegan and Caelin Doris continue in the back-row to complete the pack.

Jamison Gibson-Park is back to partner Ross Byrne in the half-backs, with scrum-half Hugh O’Sullivan taking the No 21 jersey for this weekend.

Conor O’Brien switches back to 12 after being at 13 last week and is partnered by Rory O’Loughlin, with Noel Reid heading to the bench.

The back three sees Fergus McFadden go to 11, with Adam Byrne coming in at 14, and Dave Kearney returning at full-back. James Lowe is out of this week’s team while Barry Daly, who was at full-back last weekend, is the 23rd man this time around.

With Leinster’s next game not for another three weeks and the conclusion of the 6 Nations before then Rory O’Loughlin has spoken of his views on the past few weeks.

“It’s a nice way to finish this block. I think there’s been a smaller group around here for the last month probably and a lot of academy lads have gotten to train with us a consistent basis and a good few have got to play with us,” he said.

He also talked about his hopes to finish this block of games on a high.

“I’m looking forward to getting a good crack in front of the home crowd and putting in a bit of a performance,” he said.

While Leinster have already secured a semi-final place thanks to their incredible lead at the top of Conference B, the Cheetahs have named a side in hope of bouncing back into the play-off places in Conference A.

They currently sit in sixth but are only six points off Cardiff in third and will take encouragement in knowing that they defeated Leinster 38-19 in their only previous meeting.

Leinster will be looking to extend their 22-point lead at the top of their conference before heading into this break and have named a strong team to do so, however the Cheetahs will be looking to make it two form two when they face the reigning champions.

Pro14

Leinster Cruise to Victory Once Again

Leinster have continued their winning start to the 2019/20 PRO14 season with yet another impressive performance

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(Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster have made it three bonus-point wins from three games at the start of the PRO14 season with a 40-14 victory over Edinburgh at the RDS tonight.

Tries from man of the match Jamison Gibson-Park, Michael Bent, Caelan Doris, Scott Penny, Vakh Abdaladze and Rowan Osbourne saw the hosts claim another impressive run-away win following their 53-5 dismissal of the Ospreys last weekend. 

Leinster had the best chances in the opening minutes, as Edinburgh struggled to get out of their own half. However, despite receiving two kickable penalties inside ten minutes Ross Byrne couldn’t find the target. 

Sandwiched in between the two penalty misses was a disallowed try as the hosts failed to make their territory count, but that changed in the 16th minute. Following a lovely break down the right by Dave Kearney, he tried a pass back inside to a teammate, but the ball instead hit James Lowe in the face inches out from the line. 

Gibson-Park pounced on the ball as it bounced over the try-line and after a TMO check the hosts had their first points of the game. Although Byrne was once again off colour from the tee leaving it at just 5-0. 

Edinburgh came roaring back, camping inside the Leinster 22 for the next 15 minutes, winning penalty after penalty at scrum-time. Eventually the hosts had Bent sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes and a couple of minutes on things got worse. 

Following a number of scrums the Scottish side managed to get the ball out to the right-hand side where they found themselves in a two on two situation that miss as winger James Farndale dived in for the try. 

If Leinster thought things couldn’t get worse they were proved wrong as centre Joe Tomane followed Bent to the sin-bin after he slid into Farndale knee-first as the winger scored reducing Leinster to 13-men. Once the TMO review had taken place Jaco van der Walt knocked over the conversion to give the visitors a 7-5 lead. 

Despite their disadvantage it was Leinster that took control for the remainder of the half and just as they got back their full compliment of players Bent barged over from close-range deep into the red zone and Byrne added the extras to give the hosts a 12-7 half-time lead. 

Leinster began the second-half as they ended the first and just three minutes in they were over for their third try of the game with Doris barrelling over close to the line. Byrne made no mistake with his kick to push them further in front. 

Five minutes on and the hosts replicated the score with Penny the one to push over the line this time around to secure the bonus-point. Bryne smashed over the conversion from in front of the posts to make it 26-7 with less than 10 minutes gone in the second period. 

The boys in blue continued to push forward and were rewarded with little under 20 minutes left as they went through a few phases in the opposition 22 before substitute Abdaladze powered over to score his sides fifth try of the night. Byrne converted once again to give them another two points. 

Leinster only had to wait little over a minute for their sixth try as their replacements began to shine. Jimmy O’Brien took the ball at pace inside his own half and darted through a gap before offloading to Lowe, who in turn offloaded brilliantly to Osbourne as he raced over to score his first try for the province.

Ross Byrne was replaced by brother Harry in between the two scores but the result was the same from the tee making it 40-7 with 15 minutes to go. 

The visitors hit back with just under ten minutes remaining through replacement scrum-half Charlie Shiel who sprinted over off the back of a scrum five-metres out from the line. Simon Hickey converted with what turned out to be the final score of the game as it ended 40-14 to Leinster. 

Next up for the reigning back to back champions is a trip to Zebre where they will look to maintain their 100% start to the season, while Edinburgh will play host the Scarlets in round four in two weeks time. 

Leinster Player Ratings

Starting XV:

Hugo Keenan (7), Dave Kearney (7), Rory O’Loughlin (7), Joe Tomane (8), James Lowe (7), Ross Byrne (7), Jamison Gibson-Park (9); Peter Dooley (7), Rónan Kelleher (7), Michael Bent (7), Devin Toner (7), Scott Fardy (8), Max Deegan (8), Scott Penny (8), Caelan Doris (7)

Replacements (9)

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Pro14

Leinster Change Three for Edinburgh Clash

Leinster have made a total of three changes to their team to face Edinburgh tonight

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(Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made only three changes to his side as they prepare to take on Edinburgh at the RDS at 19 35 tonight.

The changes see Dave Kearney come in on the right-wing, with Max Deegan starting at blindside-flanker and Scott Penny joins Deegan in the back-row making his first start of the season on the openside. 

Otherwise it’s as you were with Peter Dooley opening in the front-row alongside last weekend’s hat-trick hero Ronan Kelleher and Michael Bent, as Devin Toner links up with captain Scott Fardy in the engine-room. 

Deegan and Penny are on the flanks as mentioned above with the back-row being completed by the ever-improving Caelan Doris, who is at No 8. 

Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne continue their impressive half-back partnership, with Joe Tomane and Rory O’Loughlin outside them in the midfield as they too look to continue a fine start to the season as a pair. 

James Lowe retains his spot on the left-wing, with Kearney on the right as he looks to add to his hat-trick of tries from the opening weekend and Hugo Keenan completes the starting XV from full-back. 

Once again Michael Milne and Harry Byrne take places on the bench as they both seek to get on for their third caps after impressing in the opening two games, with an experienced duo of James Tracy and Ross Molony also among the replacements. 

Both the hosts and the away side have 100% records in the competition so far, however, Leinster put in a huge performance last weekend in what was there first home game of the season, blowing the Ospreys away 53-5 and will hope to pick up maximum points again as they bid to win a third PRO14 crown in a row.

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

Starting XV:

15. Hugo Keenan (7)

14. Dave Kearney (137)

13. Rory O’Loughlin (63)

12. Joe Tomane (15)

11. James Lowe (31)

10. Ross Byrne (73)

9. Jamison Gibson-Park (72)

1. Peter Dooley (63)

2. Rónan Kelleher (4)

3. Michael Bent (126)

4. Devin Toner (233)

5. Scott Fardy (45) CAPTAIN 

6. Max Deegan (48)

7. Scott Penny (6)

8. Caelan Doris (18)

Replacements:

16. James Tracy (94)

17. Michael Milne (2)

18. Vakh Abdaladze (9)

19. Ross Molony (84)

20. Josh Murphy (23)

21. Rowan Osborne (1)

22. Harry Byrne (2)

23. Jimmy O’Brien (8)


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Pro14

Leinster Demolish Ospreys in RDS Masterclass

Leinster have made it two wins from two at the start of the PRO14 season with another impressive performance

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(Photo By Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster have hammered the Ospreys  53-5 tonight in what was a dominant performance by the reigning back to back champions at the RDS. 

It was the Blues first home and they made no mistake in ensuring the bonus-point with a hat-trick of tries from Ronan Kelleher along with further tries from Fergus McFadden, Joe Tomane, Max Deegan, Harry Byrne and Michael Milne sealing a comfortable win for the hosts. 

Leinster registered the first points of the night from the boot of Ross Byrne, who knocked over a fourth minute penalty. 

Byrne was at the centre of the hosts opening try as Leinster broke into the Ospreys 22-metre line and with a penalty advantage behind them, the fly-half sent a perfect cross-field kick over to McFadden who simply had to catch the ball and put the ball down over the whitewash. Byrne couldn’t add the kick from the touchline but it was 8-0 with 11 minutes gone. 

Four minutes later and they were in for their second try as back-row Will Connors broke through the Ospreys’ defence before passing to Kelleher just before being tackled. From there Kelleher showed some incredible pace for a hooker to score his first try for the province. Byrne made no mistake from the tee and suddenly it was 15-0. 

It took time but after some sustained Leinster pressure were over once again on 34 minutes as centre Tomane finished off a number of phases close to the opposition line by barging over the line. Byrne again added the extras to stretch the lead out to 22-0. 

That’s how they went in at the half-time whistle with the boys in blue looking in full control heading into the second period. 

Leinster started the second-half where they left off in the first, with the Ospreys having the ball five metres out from their own try-line Kelleher broke through a ruck, kicked the ball ahead and touched down for his second try of the game while also securing the bonus-point. Byrne hit the post with the difficult kick from the left, but it was 27-0 with four minutes gone in the second-half. 

With half an hour remaining the hooker got in for his hat-trick as the Leinster pack drove forward from a maul off a line-out leaving Kelleher with the simple task of pushing the ball down over the line. Byrne was on target with the kick to give the hosts even more comfort on the scoreboard. 

Another five minutes on and substitute Deegan, who was only on the pitch for three minutes, made a darting run from deep, receiving the ball just in front of the Ospreys line, where he was never going to be stopped and put the ball down for try number six for Leinster. Byrne converted with his final kick of the game as he was replaced by younger brother Harry. 

Less than ten minutes after his introduction and Harry Byrne was in for his first try for Leinster in what was his home debut as he backed himself from close-range and wriggled through for the score. He failed to convert his own try but it was 46-0 with little over ten minutes remaining. 

Six minutes on and fellow home debutant Milne scored his first try for Leinster as he barrelled over from close-range. This time Harry Byrne made no mistake from the tee to make it 53-0. 

The Ospreys got a consolation score a minute later through Luke Morgan after they took a quick line-out inside the Leinster 22, the conversion was missed as they only walked away with the five-pointer. 

Things only got worse for the away side as forward Gareth Evans was sin-binned for a shoulder tackle on McFadden, meaning they would have to play the final minutes with only 14-men. 

Leinster failed to notch up any further scores but it finished 53-5 in favour of the home side as they went to the top of Conference A.

Leinster host Edinburgh next Friday when they will look to continue their winning start to the season, while the Ospreys will hope to bounce-back from this defeat when they welcome Benetton to Wales next Saturday. 

Leinster Player Ratings

Starting XV:

Hugo Keenan (7), Fergus McFadden (7), Rory O’Loughlin (7), Joe Tomane (7), James Lowe (7), Ross Byrne (8), Jamison Gibson-Park (8): Peter Dooley (7), Rónan Kelleher (9), Michael Bent (6), Devin Toner (7), Scott Fardy (8), Josh Murphy (7), Will Connors (8), Caelan Doris (8)

Replacements (9)

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