Adam Byrne returns as Leinster name team to take on Zebre

New signing Michael Ala’alatoa who will experience the RDS Arena for the first time

Adam Byrne is back in the Leinster team for this weekend’s clash with Zebre. Photograph: Ben Brady/Inpho

Adam Byrne is back in the Leinster team for this weekend’s clash with Zebre. Photograph: Ben Brady/Inpho

 

Adam Byrne returns for his first outing with Leinster in almost two years against Zebre at the RDS on Saturday (kick-off 1pm, live on RTE and Premier Sports).

The Irish winger has finally recovered fully from the serious hamstring/quad injuries which have sidelined him since his last outing in December 2019 when he started against Munster.

Byrne is one of 13 changes to the starting XV from last week’s 7-6 win over the Dragons, with a host of players making their seasonal reappearances, including Jordan Larmour and Harry Byrne.

Only Michael Ala’alatoa and Rhys Ruddock are retained, with the latter switching from blindside to number ‘8’.

Jimmy O’Brien starts at fullback, while Ciarán Frawley and Jamie Osborne form a new midfield partnership and Luke McGrath captains the side on his return at scrumhalf.

Ed Byrne and Seán Cronin come into the frontrow while Devin Toner is involved in a match day 23 for the first time this campaign and starts in the secondrow alongside Ryan Baird.

In the backrow, Dan Leavy starts his first game of the season, as does Scott Penny.

Rónan Kelleher is in line for his first appearance of the season too after being named among a bench which also features Johnny Sexton. Kelleher’s seasonal return has been delayed by his involvement in the British & Irish Lions tour even though he didn’t play a minute in South Africa.

Kelleher’s last outing was when scoring a record-equalling four tries in Ireland’s win over the USA last July which, despite being fully fit in the interim, was all of 13 weeks ago.

Tickets for the game are still on sale with capacity for the game capped at 75 per cent of the RDS Arena total.

LEINSTER: Jimmy O’Brien; Adam Byrne, Jamie Osborne, Ciarán Frawley, Jordan Larmour; Harry Byrne, Luke McGrath (capt); Ed Byrne, Seán Cronin, Michael Ala’alatoa; Devin Toner, Ryan Baird; Dan Leavy, Scott Penny, Rhys Ruddock.

Replacements: Rónan Kelleher, Peter Dooley, Cian Healy, Ross Molony, Max Deegan, Nick McCarthy, Johnny Sexton, Rob Russell.

Referee: Sam Grove-White (SRU)

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