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Phil Egan
Phil Egan

12:43 7 May 2021


Leinster have included three of their Lions contingent in their squad for Saturday's Rainbow Cup meeting with Connacht at the Sportsground.

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made 10 changes from last weekend's defeat to La Rochelle in the semi-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup.

Hugo Keenan starts at full-back once again, while Cian Kelleher and Dave Kearney come in on the wings.

Ciarán Frawley starts in the centre alongside Garry Ringrose, with Luke McGrath once more captaining the side and like last week will be partnered by Ross Byrne.

There are a total of seven changes in the pack, with Jack Conan the only player to retain his place in the same week he was included in Warren Gatland's Lions squad for the tour of South Africa.

In the front row, Peter Dooley, James Tracy and Andrew Porter are selected, with Ross Molony and Scott Fardy behind them in the second row.

Scott Penny and Josh Murphy start in the back row with Jack Conan.

 

Meanwhile, Connacht have made five changes to their starting 15, with captain Jarrad Butler set to make his first appearance in nearly two months following suspension and injury.

Denis Buckley comes into the front row for his 198th appearance, while Niall Murray starts in the second row for Andy Friend's men.

Conor Fitzgerald starts at outhalf following his cameo off the bench against Ulster, while the man who scored the match-winning try in that game, Peter Sullivan, is also handed a starting berth on the wing.

There’s also a 150th appearance for Connacht’s record try-scorer Matt Healy who is named on the opposite wing.

Buckley lines up alongside Dave Heffernan and Finlay Bealham, while Gavin Thornbury completes the tight five. Butler starts at number 8 alongside flankers Eoghan Masterson and Conor Oliver.

Caolin Blade partners Conor Fitzgerald, while Tom Daly and Sean O’Brien play together at centre.

Healy and Sullivan are on the wings, John Porch completes the side from full-back.

There’s also a welcome return among the replacements for Sammy Arnold, who hasn’t featured for four months since undergoing chest surgery.

Leinster team:

(15-9) Hugo Keenan, Cian Kelleher, Garry Ringrose, Ciarán Frawley, Dave Kearney, Ross Byrne, Luke McGrath (C).

(1-8) Peter Dooley, James Tracy, Andrew Porter, Ross Molony, Scott Fardy, Josh Murphy, Scott Penny, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Dan Sheehan, Ed Byrne, Tadhg Furlong, Ryan Baird, Josh van der Flier, Rowan Osborne, Rory O’Loughlin, Jordan Larmour.

Connacht team:

(15-9) John Porch, Peter Sullivan, Sean O’Brien, Tom Daly, Matt Healy, Conor Fitzgerald, Caolin Blade.

(1-8) Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Niall Murray, Gavin Thornbury, Eoghan Masterson, Conor Oliver, Jarrad Butler (C).

Replacements: Jonny Murphy, Matthew Burke, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Cian Prendergast, Abraham Papali’i, Kieran Marmion, Sammy Arnold, Oran McNulty.

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Andy Friend Connacht Guinness Pro14 Leinster Leo Cullen Rainbow Cup

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