Leinster and Ospreys throw young guns into battle

Joe Schmidt has had to ring the changes for Leinster as they go in search of their first victory at the Liberty Stadium since September 2009.

There is an experimental look to both sides, shorn of their star names ahead of the month’s autumn internationals.

Andrew Goodman gains his first start at inside-centre for the visitors, with Schmidt opting to move Ian Madigan back into the playmaker number 10 role in place of Jonathan Sexton.

David Kearney is only one of two players remaining from the back line that started the rout against Cardiff last week, but moves to full-back, while Andrew Conway and Fionn Carr are on the wings.

Shane Jennings captains the team and he is named in the back row alongside number eight Leo Auva’a and Rhys Ruddock, who made his first senior appearance this season in last weekend’s win.

Damian Browne once again partners Devin Toner in the second row.

But the Swansea hosts, who defeated Leinster in last season’s Pro12 final, are also under-staffed with Ashley Beck, Dan Biggar, Ryan Bevington, Aaron Jarvis, Richard Hibbard, Ian Evans, Alun Wyn Jones, Ryan Jones and Justin Tipuric named in caretaker coach Rob Howley’s 35-man Wales squad.

And Ruddock is enjoying the chance to build on last week’s showing and continue to impress Schmidt ahead of the resumption of the Heineken Cup.

“Ospreys are a really good side, they have been for last couple of years and it's no different this year, they will be high on confidence even though they're losing a few internationals.

“There are a number of guys leaving for internationals on our side too so it means a few can step up and carry on the good work they have started.

“It was really good [to return against Cardiff], I'm delighted to be back and put in such a good team performance, we did brilliant and it was one of our best performances of the season.

“The pace of the RaboDirect PRO12 is always very fast, but I felt relatively fit and happy enough.

“I played for 30 minutes, but you can do all the running you want but when you're out there making contact it's a different story.

“I was out for four-and-a-half months, but it doesn't feel that long because I haven't missed too many games.”

OSPREYS: R Fussell, H Dirksen, T Isaacs, A Bishop, E Walker, M Morgan, R Webb, D Jones, M Dwyer, J Rees, L Peers, J Thomas, G Towers, J Bearman, S Lewis.

Replacements: A Ellis, M Thomas, D Suter, J King, M Allen, K Fotuali’i, J Spratt, R Jones.

LEINSTER: D Kearney, A Conway, B Macken, A Goodman, F Carr, I Madigan, I Boss, H van der Merwe, T Sexton, J Hagan, D Browne, D Toner, R Ruddock, L Auva’a, S Jennings.

Replacements: J Tracey, J McGrath, M Moore, B Marshall, J Murphy, J Cooney, N Reid, S Coghlan-Murray.

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox