Alex Soroka named in Leinster backrow for trip to Zebre

Seán O’Brien and Tim Corkery are in line for their debuts off the bench in Italy

Alex Soroka will wear the number eight jersey against Zebre. File photograph: Inpho

Alex Soroka starts a game in the Pro14 for the first time when Leinster take on Zebre on Friday at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi (Kick-off 5.45pm Irish, live on eir Sport).

Seán O'Brien and Tim Corkery are in line for their debuts if introduced off the bench. Academy player Max O'Reilly starts at fullback, with Cian Kelleher making his 25th appearance on the right wing and Dave Kearney selected on the left.

In the centre, head coach Leo Cullen has selected Rory O'Loughlin and Jimmy O'Brien as his pairing for the second week in a row. Luke McGrath again captains the side and is partnered at halfback by Harry Byrne for the trip to Italy.

In the pack, Peter Dooley, Dan Sheehan and academy prop Thomas Clarkson start in the frontrow, with Ross Molony and Jack Dunne in the secondrow. It will be Dunne's first start of the season.


In the backrow, Josh Murphy starts at blindside, with last week's Player of the Match Scott Penny at openside and Soroka wearing number eight - after making his debut off the bench against Glasgow Warriors.

The two potential debutants - O'Brien and Corkery - are named among the replacements, along with James Tracy, Marcus Hanan, Michael Bent, Devin Toner, Hugh O'Sullivan and Jamie Osborne.

LEINSTER: Max O'Reilly; Cian Kelleher, Jimmy O'Brien, Rory O'Loughlin, Dave Kearney; Harry Byrne, Luke McGrath (capt); Peter Dooley, Dan Sheehan, Thomas Clarkson; Ross Molony, Jack Dunne; Josh Murphy, Scott Penny, Alex Soroka.

Replacements: James Tracy, Marcus Hanan, Michael Bent, Devin Toner, Seán O’Brien, Hugh O’Sullivan, Tim Corkery, Jamie Osborne.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR)