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PREVIEW: Some Big Hitters Return for Leinster’s Trip to Edinburgh

Leinster will welcome back some key men as they head to Edinburgh

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

After a three-week break the Guinness Pro14 is back and with it so are a host of Leinster players as they prepare for battle against Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield on Friday at 19 35.

The big names to be included are Joe Tomane, Luke McGrath and Dan Leavy, who all return from long spells out and are all included in the starting XV.

The game will provide them with a chance to build their fitness and put themselves in contention for a place in the 23 for next week’s Champions Cup quarter-final against Ulster.

In the front-row sees Ed Byrne, Sean Cronin and Michael Bent knuckle-down. Cronin will be hoping to prove between now and the end of the season that he should take a seat on the plane to Japan for this year’s World Cup after being dropped during the Six Nations.

Josh Murphy and Mick Kearney are in the second-row. While captain Rhys Ruddock is at blindside flanker, fit-again Leavy at openside and Max Deegan at No 8 in a formidable looking back-row.

McGrath makes a welcome return at scrum-half and was due to join Ross Byrne, who is at fly-half. He has been a late withdrawal which sees Ciaran Frawley move from 15 to 10. Tomane starts at 12, with Noel Reid standing at outside centre.

The back-three is made up of Barry Daly on the left-wing, Fergus McFadden on the right and Jimmy O’Brien starts at full-back.

With the likes of Bryan Byrne, Jack McGrath, Andrew Porter and Conor O’Brien among the subs Leinster will be hoping to continue their impressive run at the top of Conference B.

Speaking ahead of the game Leinster veteran McFadden has talked about how impressed he’s been with the younger players that have come through the ranks this season.

“To be fair to a lot of the young guys that have come in, with the academy system the way it’s set up they seem to be ready made to just play at a high-level, which is great,” he said.

The away side will be wary of an Edinburgh team that welcomes back the likes of Darcy Graham, Hamish Watson, Ben Toolis and WP Nel from the Scottish camp and John Barclay who will make his debut for the side.

Leinster start the game in first place in Conference B, 22-points above second-place Benetton, and will be looking to continue their impressive form. However, Edinburgh currently sit in fifth in the conference, seven points adrift of the play-off spots and will be eager to cut the gap when the host the reigning champions.

Pro14

Ulster & Leinster names teams for PRO14 Clash

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ulster match-day squad to host Leinster tomorrow night at Kingspan Stadium has been named (kick-off 7.35pm).

Having returned from injury off the bench last Friday against Ospreys, Robert Baloucoune comes into the starting back three, joining Jacob Stockdale on the left wing and Michael Lowry at full-back. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume have retained their starting berths in midfield. John Cooney and Ian Madigan are named at half-back.

In the front row, both Eric O’Sullivan and Tom O’Toole come in to start at loosehead and tighthead prop respectively, with John Andrew retaining his place at hooker. Alan O’Connor and Kieran Treadwell will partner up in the second row. Marcell Coetzee makes his return from injury to start at Number Eight, and is named alongside Nick Timoney and skipper, Jordi Murphy.

Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Marty Moore, Cormac Izuchukwu and Sean Reidy will offer forwards cover on the bench, with Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore and Rob Lyttle providing the back line options. 

Ulster team to play Leinster Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 14, Saturday 6 March at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm, live on Premier Sports): 

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Ian Madigan, John Cooney.

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Nick Timoney, Jordi Murphy (Capt.), Marcell Coetzee.

Replacements: Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Marty Moore, Cormac Izuchukwu, Sean Reidy, Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore, Rob Lyttle.

Leinster also have announced their team.

Academy back Max O’Reilly starts at full-back for his fifth cap of the season, with try-scorer from last week Cian Kelleher on the right wing and Dave Kearney on the left. Kearney has seven tries in 12 games so far this season.

Rory O’Loughlin starts in the number 12 jersey this week, with Jimmy O’Brien wearing the number 13 outside him.

Captain McGrath is joined this week by Ross Byrne who was released by Andy Farrell to Leinster during the week.

Ed Byrne is another released back to Leinster and he starts at loosehead, with James Tracy at hooker and Michael Bent at tighthead.

Devin Toner and Scott Fardy are the second row combination for Cullen’s side for the second week in a row, as Toner gets ever closer to Gordon D’Arcy’s all-time Leinster caps record of 261.

In the back row, Rhys Ruddock and Josh van der Flier are the final two available to Cullen having been released back to the province and they start at blindside and openside, with Guinness Man of the Match from last week, Scott Penny, completing the starting XV for Leinster Rugby.

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6 Nations

Cian Healy signs short term extension

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Ireland and Leinster loosehead prop Cian Healy has signed a 1 year extension to his IRFU contract up to the end of the 2021/22 season.

Cian is Ireland’s most capped prop forward having lined out for Ireland on 107 occasions to date. He made his Ireland debut against Australia in November 2009 and was selected for the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour of Australia making two appearances before injury ended his involvement.

Cian has won three Six Nations titles with Ireland and represented Leinster on 226 occasions winning four Heineken Cup titles during his career in blue.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Cian has been a cornerstone of both the Irish and Leinster packs for over a decade.  He has shown incredible resilience to come back from serious injury and perform at the highest level.  Cian has a lot to contribute to Irish Rugby and we are delighted that he has signed on for another year.”

Cian Healy, commented,

“My drive for success at both Leinster and Ireland is as strong as ever.  I am lucky enough to currently be part to two teams with the same mentality which is special and I look forward to another season of pushing boundaries and achieving our goals.

I’m loving my rugby as much now as I did at the very start of my career and looking forward to having our supporters back in stadia.”

Article from Irish Rugby

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6 Nations

O’Mahony Signs Contract Extension with IRFU

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Ireland and Munster backrow Peter O’Mahony has signed a two year extension to his IRFU contract keeping him at Munster until 2023.

Peter made his Ireland debut in the Six Nations against Italy in 2012 and has gone on to win 74 caps and captain his country on eight occasions.  A Lions tourist in 2017, Peter captained the Lions in the opening Test of the series against New Zealand.

Peter has represented Munster on 141 occasions becoming captain of his province in 2013 at the age of 24.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Peter has played a leadership role in Munster from an early age and is one of the senior leaders in the national squad.  He is a competitor and passionate about playing for both Ireland and Munster.”

Peter O’Mahony, commented,

“It’s a huge privilege to sign on with the province and country I’ve grown up in and dreamed of playing for. It’s been something I’ve been very open about saying from day one and its very pleasing to be able to continue the journey for two more years.

There’s a huge amount of responsibility that comes with representing both teams and I understand how much pressure there is to deliver silverware, however, I am incredibly enthusiastic on the position and competitiveness of both Munster and Ireland and I look forward to hopefully contributing to both, to succeed in delivering that success on the pitch.”

Irish Rugby

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