Leo Cullen makes 12 changes to Leinster team for Dragons encounter

With most of the province’s established stars in the Ireland camp preparing for the Six Nations, a number of younger players are being given a chance to shine in tomorrow’s PRO12 game.

Leo Cullen makes 12 changes to Leinster team for Dragons encounter

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made 12 changes to his starting 15 for the trip to face the Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade.

With most of the province’s established stars in the Ireland camp preparing for the Six Nations, a number of younger players are being given a chance to shine in tomorrow’s PRO12 encounter.

Fergus McFadden starts on the left wing.
Fergus McFadden starts on the left wing.

In the backs, Fergus McFadden returns from suspension to take his place on the left wing with Zane Kirchner switching from the right wing to full back. That leaves that slot free for Academy winger Adam Byrne to make his first start for Leinster.

Ben Te'o and Garry Ringrose renew their midfield partnership, while Cathal Marsh fills the number 10 spot. Luke McGrath, who has been named captain for the game for the first time in his Leinster career, joins Marsh in the half-backs.

It’s an entirely new front row made up of Peter Dooley, James Tracy and Michael Bent while Ross Molony is joined by Hayden Triggs in the second row.

Dominic Ryan at blind side and Jordi Murphy at number eight are retained from last weekend, while Dan Leavy comes into the pack at open side.

On the bench Academy players Jeremy Loughman, Oisín Heffernan and Peadar Timmins are all in line to make their Leinster debuts. Loughman and Heffernan are both in their first year in the Academy and Timmins, who has captained the Leinster 'A' team this season is in his second.

Newport Gwent Dragons v Leinster Rugby at the Rodney Parade on Friday January 29 - kick-off 7.05pm.

Leinster team: 15. Zane Kirchner, 14. Adam Byrne, 13. Garry Ringrose, 12. Ben Te'o, 11. Fergus McFadden, 10. Cathal Marsh, 9. Luke McGrath - capt.;1. Peter Dooley, 2. James Tracy, 3. Michael Bent, 4. Ross Molony, 5. Hayden Triggs, 6. Dominic Ryan, 7. Dan Leavy, 8. Jordi Murphy.

Replacements: 16. Richardt Strauss , 17. Jeremy Loughman , 18. Oisín Heffernan, 19.Tadhg Beirne, 20. Peadar Timmins, 21. Isaac Boss, 22. Ian Madigan, 23. Noel Reid.

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