Joe Tomane takes midfield role for Leinster’s trip to Montauban

Leo Cullen takes 28 players to France for opening pre-season game

New Leinster signing Joe Tomane will make his debut at inside centre in Friday night's opening pre-season match against away to French Pro D2 side US Montauban.

The New Zealand-born Australian international will partner Rory O'Loughlin in midfield, with James Lowe named at fullback. Adam Byrne and Barry Daly will start on the wings, while Noel Reid will play at outhalf alongside scrumhalf Nick McCarthy.

Rhys Ruddock will captain the side from openside flanker, with Josh Murphy at blindside and Max Deegan starting at number eight.

Ross Molony and Ian Nagle make up the secondrow, while Bryan Byrne will play hooker alongside props Peter Dooley and Michael Bent.


Leinster have brought a squad of 28 players to France for the game at Stade Sapiac (8.30pm/7.30pm Irish time)

Speaking to Leinster Rugby TV ahead of the game, head coach Leo Cullen said: "The majority of the group that are playing this weekend came back in the middle of June. They did a three-week block at that stage, had another break and came back, so they've done a fair amount. It'll be nice to put into practice some of the things we've worked on over the course of pre-season.

“We have 28 players that are going to travel to France. It’s a good opportunity for these lads to put their hand up nice and early in the season.”

Montauban finished second at the end of the 2017/18 Pro D2 regular season which meant they qualified for the promotion playoff semi-finals. There they lost out to Grenoble who ultimately won promotion to the Top 14.

“[Montauban are] a big physical team and it should be a good test. They get good crowds over there as well. Conditions are difficult this time of year in the south of France. Overall it should be a very, very good test for us.

“The teams like Perpignan last season and Montauban, they’re a little more advanced than we are in terms of this being the third pre-season game that they’ve played. It was the same with Perpignan last year. Their season starts next week, so there’s a probably a bit more urgency about what they’re doing. They’ve probably built a bit of the cohesion that we’re trying to establish now at this stage.”

LEINSTER: James Lowe; Adam Byrne, Rory O'Loughlin, Joe Tomane, Barry Daly; Noel Reid, Nick McCarthy; Peter Dooley, Bryan Byrne, Michael Bent; Ross Molony, Ian Nagle; Josh Murphy, Rhys Ruddock (capt), Max Deegan.

Replacements: James Tracy, Ed Byrne, Vakh Abdaladze, Mick Kearney, Will Connors, Jamison Gibson-Park, Jimmy O'Brien, Dave Kearney, Oisín Dowling, Conor O'Brien, Tom Daly, Jack Kelly, Gavin Mullin.