Leinster ring the changes for Connacht trip

Just five of the side that started against Ulster last weekend retained for match in Galway

 Jack Carty will make his first start for Connacht tomorrow night.

Jack Carty will make his first start for Connacht tomorrow night.

Fri, Jan 3, 2014, 13:08

Leinster coach Matt O’Connor has rotated his squad for tomorrow night’s Pro12 derby with Connacht at the Sportsground (7.15pm).

Just five of the side that defeated Ulster at the RDS last Saturday will start again this weekend with Zane Kirchner and Luke Fitzgerald the only backs retained while Jordi Murphy, Rhys Ruddock and Martin Moore keeping their places in the pack.

The sweeping changes see Irish internationals Rob Kearney, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Ian Madigan and Eoin Reddan return to a revamped backline while Jamie Heaslip - who has yet to resolve his future with the province - is among those coming in to bolster the pack.

Connacht, beaten by Munster on their last outing, will give young outhalf Jack Carty his first start for the province after two appearances off the bench already this campaign.

With Dan Parks rested and Craig Ronaldson and Miah Nikora missing through injury, Connacht coach Pat Lam has handed a full debut to the 21-year-old from Athlone.

“With our second and third choice outhalf out injured, we have decided to bring in young Jack Carty to start. Jack has been involved with us in training all year and has had some good performances with the Eagles. It is a great boost to his development as a young Irish qualified 10 to play against such quality opposition and I know he is very much looking forward to the test.

“Young Darragh (Leader) will start at fullback, a position in which he has proven himself with the Ireland U20s in the Rugby World Championship last summer. We have an extremely young back line going up against the best team in Europe and the league champions. But we have a belief in our young squad and if every player does their job and commits to the game plan we’ve put in place, then we have every chance of getting the desired result.”

Connacht: Darragh Leader; Fionn Carr, Robbie Henshaw, Eoin Griffin, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Brett Wilkinson, Jason Harris-Wright, Nathan White; Mick Kearney, Craig Clarke; Andrew Browne, John Muldoon, Eoin McKeon. Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Denis Buckley, Rodney Ah You, Michael Swift, George Naoupu, Paul O’Donohoe, Dan Parks, Tiernan O’Halloran.

Leinster: Rob Kearney; Zane Kirchner, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Luke Fitzgerald; Ian Madigan, Eoin Reddan; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Martin Moore; Devin Toner, Tom Denton; Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, Jamie Heaslip. Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Jack O’Connell, Mike Ross, Mike McCarthy, Dominic Ryan, Isaac Boss, Jimmy Gopperth, Dave Kearney.

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