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Leinster Ring the Changes for Kings Visit

Leinster have made a host of changes to their side for the weekend

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Leinster have named a much-changed team as they prepare to host the Southern Kings in the RDS on Friday at 19 55.

Only eight of the players that started last weekend’s 40-24 win over Zebre have remained in the XV with Ronan Kelleher set to make his debut at hooker.

Kelleher will be joined by Ed Byrne and Andrew Porter in the front-row with the latter hoping to impress on his time away from the Irish squad.

Ross Molony captains the side from the second-row and is partnered by Mick Kearney.

The back-row is unchanged from last weekend with Josh Murphy, Max Deegan and Caelan Doris all getting the nod after strong performances.

Hugh O’Sullivan comes in at scrum-half to replace Jamison Gibson-Park, who is out of the squad completely. O’Sullivan is paired with Ross Byrne in the half-backs.

Noel Reid starts at inside centre with Conor O’Brien moving to outside centre as Rory O’Loughlin drops to the bench having started last time out.

In the back three there is a much-welcomed return to action for Fergus McFadden, who has been side-lined since October with an injury. While James Lowe’s return to the left-wing means Barry Daly shifts to full-back.

Even with a number of player’s on international duty the Blues bench still brims of experience with the likes of James Tracy, Peter Dooley, Michael Bent, Scott Fardy and Rory O’Loughlin to call upon if needed.

Caelan Doris who will make his 11th appearance on Friday has told the media how he is looking forward to another run out in front of the home fans but is expecting a hard game.

“Another tough physical game, it will be nice to be back in the RDS on Friday, but the Kings, we saw how dangerous they can be when we were over there. Big tough pack, and a very speedy back-three in particular,” he said.

Speaking ahead of the game Kings head coach Deon Davids, who saw his side lose 43-0 to Munster last weekend, has called on his players to respond.

“The players know clearly where they stand and in what areas of their game, we seek improvements. It was encouraging to see a good start against Munster – we were quite physical and created a lot of momentum, however we were also our own enemy by giving the momentum away at crucial times,” he said.

Many will be expecting Leinster to gain another bonus-point here and continue their dominance at the top of Conference A. However, the Kings who need every point they can get will be hoping to cause an upset and win their first ever Pro14 away match in the process.

Whoever comes out on top will be one step closer to their goal at either end of the table.


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Narraway targets big away day display

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Forwards Coach Luke Narraway has challenged Dragons to transfer two powerful performances on home soil on the road as they prepare to travel to Italy this weekend.

The Men of Gwent have impressed at Rodney Parade over the last two weekends as they defeated Munster before being narrowly edged out by the Cell C Sharks in the BKT United Rugby Championship.

Narraway has been delighted by the way the squad has evoked the ‘Rodney Parade spirit’ with two games played out to a vocal home support.

But now he acknowledges the task is to take that away from Newport and produce the same emotional and physical display.

“We spoke before the Munster game about getting back to performances at Rodney Parade of yesteryear,” he said.

“The Rodney Parade that I remember coming to was a horrible place to come to, it was a hard-fought game and teams didn’t relish coming to Newport.

“We let that slip last year and it was about performances and rekindling that Rodney Parade spirit, getting the fans involved and making sure that they were proud of our performance.

“Obviously it would have been nice to cross the line against Sharks and get that one through, but I was still tremendously proud of the performance.

“It’s now about matching that performance away from home.

“We’ve got two games away and where emotional levels were good at home, we need to make sure that stays in surroundings that we’re obviously not known to.

“That’s the message this week, we’re going out there to build on those two home games and hopefully see what we can get from them.”

One player who will miss the game in Italy is captain Will Rowlands.

The Wales international, who impressed in all three Tests against the Springboks last summer, started against Edinburgh, Munster and the Sharks.

“Will played a lot of rugby over the summer and we looked after him in pre-season,” said Narraway.

“We got him in at the start of the season and he has been outstanding.

“We will look this week to let him recharge the batteries and we have a fantastic number of options to call upon in the second row.

“Will gets time to regenerate and it gives opportunities to others in an area where we are blessed.”

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Los Pumas star Boffelli returns for Lions test

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The Los Pumas star makes his first Edinburgh appearance of the 22/23 season – having enjoyed an impressive Rugby Championship campaign, notching up 20 points in August’s stunning win against the All Blacks, while playing a key role in Argentina’s summer series victory against Scotland – and is selected on the wing as one of eight changes named by Head Coach Mike Blair.

Matt Currie (outside centre) makes his first start of the season in place of the injured Mark Bennett while Henry Pyrgos gets the nod at scrum-half as Ben Vellacott misses out having picking up a knock in training.

A new front-row combination of Boan Venter (loosehead) and Luan de Bruin (tighthead) start as Glen Young (lock) comes into the second-row.

Luke Crosbie (blindside flanker) and Viliame Mata (number 8) are both fit again and return to the back-row in place of injured duo Jamie Ritchie and Nick Haining.

Edinburgh Rugby will once again celebrate ‘club appreciation night’ which will see the squad pull on the socks of their boyhood/local clubs to recognise the importance of the wider grassroots game, with the players’ chosen clubs listed on the team line-up below.

Head Coach Mike Blair said: “We’re excited to be back home after a two-week tour and the squad are really looking forward to Friday night lights in front of the Edinburgh supporters – it’s always a special experience playing under the lights and we’re anticipating a brilliant atmosphere.

“It’s the second season of celebrating ‘club appreciation night’ and it’s something that definitely adds that extra bit of motivation for the squad. We’re proud to represent our grassroots clubs and it’s important we recognise those local teams that do so much to support us on a weekly basis.

“We’ve made a number of changes to the starting line-up and we’re excited to see guys get their opportunity for what will be a really tough match-up. Emirates Lions come into the game having won two straight in Wales, so we’ll have to be at our very best come kick-off tomorrow night.”

Henry Immelman continues at full-back as Bofelli and Darcy Graham are selected on opposite wings.

Academy graduate Currie links up with James Lang (inside centre) in midfield as Pygros and Blair Kinghorn (stand-off) combine at half-back.

Scotland internationalist Stuart McInally continues at hooker as club co-captain Grant Gilchrist retains his place in the second-row alongside Young.

Scotland and British and Irish Lions back-row Hamish Watson once again starts at openside flanker as Crosbie and Mata complete the pack.

 

Edinburgh Rugby team to face Emirates Lions at DAM Health Stadium in the United Rugby Championship
Friday 7 October (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports

15. Henry Immelman (Portobello RFC) (19)

14. Darcy Graham (Hawick RFC) (53)
13. Matt Currie (Dumfries / Merchiston Castle) (13)
12. James Lang (RGC Rygbi Gogledd Cymru) (22)
11. Emiliano Boffelli (Inverleith RFC) (18)

10. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Accies) (121) VICE-CAPTAIN
9. Henry Pyrgos (Leith RFC) (73)

1. Boan Venter (Leith RFC) (28)
2. Stuart McInally (Watsonians) (168) VICE-CAPTAIN
3. Luan de Bruin (Corstorphine Cougars) (10)
4. Glen Young (Jed-Forest RFC) (14)
5. Grant Gilchrist (Alloa RFC) (178) CAPTAIN
6. Luke Crosbie (Livingston RFC / Currie Chieftains) (71)
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Accies) (133)
8. Viliame Mata (Trinity RFC) (97)

Replacements

16. Dave Cherry (Mull RFC / Merchiston Castle) (60)
17. Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh Accies) (86)
18. WP Nel (Watsonians) (174)
19. Marshall Sykes (Ayr RFC) (25)
20. Ben Muncaster (North Berwick RFC) (17)
21. Charlie Shiel (Currie Chieftains / Royal High) (45)
22. Charlie Savala (Ayr RFC) (14)
23. Chris Dean (North Berwick RFC / Edinburgh Accies) (123)

Unavailable: Mark Bennett, Conor Boyle, Wes Goosen, Nick Haining, Jamie Ritchie, Ben Vellacott.

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Fly half Davies set for playing return

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Fly half Sam Davies is in contention for his first action of the season – but lock George Nott and wing Ashton Hewitt will miss the trip to Italy.

Davies has not yet featured in the BKT United Rugby Championship season after picking up a knee knock in pre-season.

However, the 29-year-old is back and knocking on the door of a major milestone with 498 points for Dragons.

“Sam is back,” said Forwards Coach, Luke Narraway.

“He has been working very hard in the background. Last week was probably too early for him, but he has had a couple of weeks of full training and is ready to go.

“JJ (Hanarahan) is also back in contention while Will (Reed) we won’t take any risks with after what happened in the Sharks game.”

Meanwhile, forward George Nott is set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering a hand injury.

Nott – who can play lock or back row – has made an impressive start to his career with the Men of Gwent after featuring in home games with Munster and Cell C Sharks.

However, the 26-year-old sustained a tendon injury in the defeat to the Sharks and is ruled out of the game with Benetton this weekend.

Wing Ashton Hewitt will also miss the BKT United Rugby Championship trip to Italy after picking up an ankle injury.

“George has a tendon injury to his finger, so he won’t be available this weekend,” added Naraway. “I’m not sure of the extent of it, but he won’t travel to Italy.

“It was one of those innocuous ones when his finger has got caught in a jersey.

“It wasn’t too painful, but obviously we need to look at how we get that tendon fixed.

“Ashton is a little sore and the early signs are promising. This weekend will come too soon for him. We will wait for further clarification on him.”

Content & Images from – Dragons Rugby


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