Goodman in European debut for Leinster


Rugby:New Zealander Andrew Goodman will make his Heineken Cup debut in Leinster’s midfield for Sunday’s crucial away clash against Clermont Auvergne at the Stade Marcel Michelin (3.0pm Irish time).

The 30-year-old will play at inside centre alongside Gordon D’Arcy, who will become the most capped Leinster player in the competition with 88 on Sunday.

In total Leinster coach Joe Schmidt makes five changes from the side that hammered Zebre 37-7 last weekend, while there are a number of positional switches.

In the backs, Ian Madigan comes in at fullback with Isa Nacewa moving to the left wing and Fergus McFadden shifting over to the right flank, with Andrew Conway missing out. Isaac Boss has been named at scrumhalf ahead of Eoin Reddan.

Schmidt brings back in his first-choice props as Cian Healy and Mike Ross take over from Heinke van der Merwe and Michael Bent, but Seán Cronin holds on to the hooker’s jersey, with Richardt Strauss named on the bench.

The final change comes in the backrow, with Jamie Heaslip coming back in at number eight as Seán O’Brien switches to openside flanker. Rhys Ruddock drops out of the matchday squad and will captain the ‘A’ side in their British and Irish Cup clash away to Jersey on Saturday.

Munster coach Rob Penney brings back in Ronan O’Gara, Keith Earls and James Coughlan for Saturday’s game against Harlequins at Thomond Park after they missed the week two clash against Edinburgh through injury.

Felix Jones came on as a replacement in that game on his return from injury and is named at fullback, while Earls retains the outside centre berth ahead of Casey Laulala, with James Downey named at number 12.

With Niall Ronan joining fellow backrowers Sean Dougall and Tommy O’Donnell on the injured list, it means Dave O'Callaghan will start at blindside flanker, with Couglan at number eight and Peter O’Mahony at openside.

O'Callaghan, a 22-year-old development contracted player from Youghal, came on as a replacement in the final pool game last season against Northampton Saints and has started in seven league games, as well as making the bench against Racing Metro and Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup.

LEINSTER (v ASM Clermont Auvergne, Sunday, Marcel Michelin, 3pm Irish time):Ian Madigan; Fergus McFadden, Gordon D’Arcy, Andrew Goodman, Isa Nacewa; Jonathan Sexton, Isaac Boss; Cian Healy, Seán Cronin, Mike Ross, Leo Cullen (capt), Damian Browne, Kevin McLaughlin, Seán O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip. Replacements:Richardt Strauss, Jack McGrath, Michael Bent, Devin Toner, Shane Jennings, Eoin Reddan, Fionn Carr.

ASM CLERMONT AUVERGNE:Lee Byrne; Sitiveni Sivivatu, Aurelien Rougerie (capt), Wesley Fofana, Napolioni Nalaga; Brock James, Morgan Parra; Vincent Debaty, Benjamin Kayser, Davit Zirakashvili, Jamie Cudmore, Nathan Hines, Julien Bonnaire, Alexandre Lapandry, Damien Chouly. Replacements:Ti’I Paulo, Raphael Chaume, Daniel Kotze, Julien Pierre, Julien Bardy, Ludovic Radosavljevic, David Skrela, Regan King.

MUNSTER (v Saracens, Saturday, Thomond Park (6.0pm):Felix Jones; Doug Howlett (capt), Keith Earls, James Downey, Simon Zebo; Ronan O'Gara, Conor Murray; David Kilcoyne, Mike Sherry, BJ Botha; Donncha O'Callaghan, Donnacha Ryan; Dave O'Callaghan, Peter O'Mahony, James Coughlan. Replacements:Damien Varley, Wian du Preez, Stephen Archer, Billy Holland, Paddy Butler, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Casey Laulala.

SARACENS:Alex Goode; Chris Ashton, Owen Farrell, Bradley Barritt, Chris Wyles; Charlie Hodgson, Neil de Kock; Rhys Gill, Schalk Brits, Matt Stevens, Steve Borthwick (capt), Mouritz Botha, Kelly Brown, Will Fraser, Ernst Joubert. Replacements:John Smit, Mako Vunipola, Petrus Du Plessis, George Kruis, Andy Saull, Richard Wigglesworth, Joel Tomkins, David Strettle.

LEINSTER ‘A’ (v Jersey, St Peter’s Rugby Grounds, Saturday, 3.0pm):Cathal Marsh; Andrew Boyle, Brendan Macken, Jordan Coghlan, Adam Byrne; Noel Reid, John Cooney; Jack O’Connell, Aaron Dundon, Jamie Hagan, Ben Marshall, Tom Denton, Rhys Ruddock (Capt), Dominic Ryan, Leo Auva’a. Replacements:Thomas Sexton, Martin Moore, Tadhg Beirne, Conor Gilsenan, Luke McGrath, Tom Daly, Steve Crosbie.

ULSTER RAVENS (v Cardiff, Ravenhill, Saturday, 2.30pm):Adam D’Arcy; Ricky Andrew, Michael Allen, Niall O’Connor, Chris Cochrane; Stuart Olding, Michael Heaney; Conor Carey, Niall Annett, Richard Lutton, James Simpson, Neil McComb (capt), Conor Joyce, Ali Birch, Mike McComish. Replacements:Rob Herring, Adam Macklin, Alan O’Connor, Sean O’Connell, Blane McIlroy, Stuart McCloskey, Rory Scholes.

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