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Phil Egan
Phil Egan

12:42 11 Mar 2021


Leinster head coach Leo Cullen is able to recall Harry Byrne to his starting 15 for Friday night's Guinness PRO14 game away to Zebre.

Byrne missed last weekend's win over Ulster with a head injury but has now gone through his graduated return to play protocols.

Alex Soroka will make his first start in the PRO14 after his debut off the bench against Glasgow Warriors.

Seán O’Brien and Tim Corkery are in line for their own debuts if introduced off the bench.

Luke McGrath will once again captain the side and starts alongside the returning Byrne.

Academy player Max O’Reilly starts at full back, with Cian Kelleher making his 25th appearance on the right-wing and Dave Kearney selected on the left.

Rory O’Loughlin and Jimmy O’Brien form the centre pairing for the second week in a row.

In the pack, Peter Dooley, Dan Sheehan and Academy prop Thomas Clarkson start in the front row.

Ross Molony and Jack Dunne are named in the second row with Dunne making his first start of the season.

In the back row, Josh Murphy starts at blindside, Scott Penny is named at openside and Soroka will wear number 8.

The two potential debutants are named among the replacements, along with James Tracy, Marcus Hanan, Michael Bent, Devin Toner, Hugh O’Sullivan and Jamie Osborne.

USA-born O’Brien started out playing minis with Greystones RFC before going to school in Blackrock College where he played on the Junior and Senior cup teams.

Corkery is from Bennettsbridge and went to school in St. Kieran’s College. He played his club rugby with Kilkenny RFC.

Devin Toner continues to edge ever closer to Gordon D’Arcy’s all-time record Leinster appearance total of 261.

Leinster team:

15. Max O’Reilly
14. Cian Kelleher
13. Jimmy O’Brien
12. Rory O’Loughlin
11. Dave Kearney
10. Harry Byrne
9. Luke McGrath CAPTAIN

1. Peter Dooley
2. Dan Sheehan
3. Thomas Clarkson
4. Ross Molony
5. Jack Dunne
6. Josh Murphy
7. Scott Penny
8. Alex Soroka

Replacements:

16. James Tracy
17. Marcus Hanan
18. Michael Bent
19. Devin Toner
20. Seán O’Brien*
21. Hugh O’Sullivan
22. Tim Corkery*
23. Jamie Osborne

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Guinness Pro14 Harry Byrne Leinster Leo Cullen Vodafone Zebre

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