Gopperth to kick Leinster to victory despite 18 on international duty
Dominic Ryan gets a start at openside with Jordi Murphy on the bench after an injury lay-off
Leinster Dominic Ryan will start at openside against Treviso. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Stadio Monigo, Sunday, 2pm, TG4
Classically inept scheduling by the Pro12 organisers; whoever decided to put this fixture against Treviso up against the Ireland versus New Zealand Test match in Dublin was clearly having an off day.
One imagines TG4 are not overjoyed by the coup as well.
Nor is Leinster coach Matt O’Connor’s plight helped by the late withdrawal of captain Shane Jennings. The Ireland management always keep an extra loose forward in camp for international weekend.
Jennings, long since dispensed by former Irish coach Declan Kidney, was a key leader in the Joe Schmidt era at Leinster and his presence is required once again.
There is a silver lining as Dominic Ryan gets a start at openside here and Jordi Murphy comes onto the bench after an injury lay-off.
The match may also be Lote Tiqiri’s third and final game as a Leinster player. The hope is he can finish one of them. The veteran League and Wallaby winger’s contract is up next week and the IRFU and Leinster have yet to announce a decision on keeping him on.
O’Connor sort of indicated he would like to have him on the roster for a few more months. How the five Leinster three-quarters playing in the other big game tomorrow fare may decide this.
The other selection worth noting is that of Michael Bent at loosehead prop due to Jack McGrath’s progress up the ranks in recent months.
With 18 players on international duty, this would be a huge scalp for Leinster. It’s possible. Unless, that is, former outhalf Mat Berquist comes back to haunt them. Berquist already kicked the life out of Munster but we’ll back Jimmy Gopperth to sort this out.
TREVISO: B Williams; L Nitoglia, A Pratichetti, C Loamanu, A Esposito; M Berquist, F Semenzato; A De Marchi, F Sbaraglini, I Fernandez-Rouyet; M Fuser, C van Zyl (capt); M Vosawai, D Budd, M Filippucci. Replacements: E Ceccato, M Muccignat, P Di Santo, A Pavanello, P Giusti, A Sgarbi, J Ambrosini, A Di Bernardo.
LEINSTER: D Hudson; L Tuqiri, B Macken, N Reid, D Fanning; J Gopperth, J Cooney; M Bent, A Dundon, M Moore; T Denton, Q Roux; R Ruddock (capt), D Ryan, L Auva’a. Replacements: J Tracy, J O’Connell, T Furlong, B Marshall, J Murphy, E Reddan, C Marsh, C O’Shea.
Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland).