Cullen returns to boost Leinster

Leo Cullen during squad training this week. Picture: INPHO/Donall Farmer

RABODIRECT PRO12:
Leinster v Scarlets
Leo Cullen returns to boost Leinster in tonight’s RaboDirect Pro12 clash with Llanelli Scarlets at the RDS (7.15 pm).

The iconic Cullen lines out for the first time this season at lock alongside Mike McCarthy. Matt O’Connor has been given access to several members of the Ireland squad involved in the recent Guinness series, although Brian O’Driscoll is still ruled out with concussion.

There’s a blend of youth and experience across the team with the province’s most capped player Gordon D’Arcy partnering Brendan Macken at centre.

Eoin Reddan makes his 88th appearance and links up with Ian Madigan at half-back. Luke Fitzgerald – who makes his 115th Leinster appearance – is given a run alongside back three colleagues, South African international Zane Kirchner and Australian Lote Tuqiri.

Fresh from his involvement with the Ireland squad, Jack McGrath will start in the front row alongside Aaron Dundon and Martin Moore.

Shane Jennings leads the side and is named in the back-row alongside Rhys Ruddock and Jordi Murphy.

Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby is aware of the necessity to pick up points on the road: “Securing points away from home in this period is crucial to our campaign, it was vital to win last weekend and to maintain positive momentum during a very intense couple of months of rugby for this group.

“It may be a challenging block of rugby for us but it’s exactly where we want to be playing as a club against top quality sides to really test ourselves”

LEINSTER: Z Kirchner, L Tuqiri, B Macken, G D’Arcy, L Fitzgerald, I Madigan, E Reddan, J McGrath, A Dundon, M Moore, L Cullen, M McCarthy, R Ruddock, J Murphy, S Jennings (capt).

Replacements: S Cronin, M Bent, M Ross, T Denton, D Ryan, L McGrath, J Gopperth, D Fanning.

Scarlets: G Owen, N Reynolds, G Maule, A Warren, N Reynolds, A Thomas, G Davies, P John (captain), K Myhill, J Adriaanse, J Ball, J Snyman, A Shingler, S Timani, J Barclay.

Replacements: E Phillips, R Evans, H Pungea, R Kelly, J Turnbull, A Davies, J Lewis, J Williams.


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