Joey Carbery to make first start at full-back for Leinster

Joey Carbery will make his first start at full-back for Leinster in their Guinness PRO12 visit to Dragons tonight.

The Auckland-born Athy man was named at out-half for last weekend’s win over Edinburgh but switched to full-back during the game, while he also featured in the position in the recent victory over Treviso.

Last weekend’s win marked Carbery’s first start for the province since injuring his ankle in December, which ruled him out of Joe Schmidt’s squad selections for the first three rounds of the Six Nations.

However, Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster reckons the 21-year-old will use tonight’s match to push for a call-up for Ireland’s clashes against England and Wales next month.

“It’s still early days with Joey for me,” said Lancaster at a Leinster media briefing earlier this week.

“Ireland have got two or three different options at 10 and 15, so I can see why they’ve retained the squad they’ve got. It gives Joey a chance to play this weekend and then with a week off in between the final two games, he will want to put his hand up for those,” added Lancaster.

Carbery’s switch to No 15 sees Ross Byrne selected at out-half, while Irish internationals Fergus McFadden and Rhys Ruddock return to Leinster’s starting XV after recovering from injury. 

McFadden is named on the left wing for his first appearance since October and Ruddock has recovered from a quad problem to start at blind-side flanker. 

Meath man Peadar Timmins makes his first start for the province at openside, while a new centre combination sees Noel Reid paired with Zane Kirchner.

LEINSTER: J Carbery, A Byrne, Z Kirchner, N Reid, F McFadden, R Byrne, J Gibson-Park; P Dooley, R Strauss (c), M Bent, R Molony, M McCarthy, R Ruddock, P Timmins, J Conan.

Replacements: J Tracy, E Byrne, M Ross, H Triggs, M Deegan, L McGrath, C Marsh, B Daly.

DRAGONS: C Meyer, A Hughes, T Morgan, J Dixon, P Howard, D Jones, T Knoyle, L Evans (c), N Cudd, O Griffiths, R Landman, N Crosswell, B Harris, E Dee, S Hobbs.

Replacements: R Buckley, T Davies, L Fairbrother, M Screech, H Keddie, S Pretorius, A O’Brien, A Warren.

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