Cian Kelleher comes into Leinster team for trip to Zebre

Leo Cullen has made several changes as his side look to maintain unbeaten start

Leinster’s Cian Kelleher will start in their Pro14 clash with Zebre on Saturday. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Leinster’s Cian Kelleher will start in their Pro14 clash with Zebre on Saturday. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Pro14: Zebre v Leinster

Kick-off: 5.15pm Irish time, Saturday. Venue: Stadio Lanfranchi. On TV: Live on Eir Sport.

As Leinster will look to maintain their unbeaten opening to the season in Italy, Leo Cullen has made several changes to the side that powered away from Edinburgh in the second half last time out at the RDS.

Cian Kelleher makes his first start in the Pro14 since returning to the province from Connacht during the summer while Adam Byrne comes in on the other wing as Dave Kearney and James Lowe are rested. The remainder of the backline has a familiar look.

Up front James Tracy gets his chance in the run-on team as does Ross Molony, who partners captain Scott Fardy at lock. A couple of backrow players will enjoy milestone appearances, Josh Murphy winning his 25th cap and number eight Max Deegan his 50th. On the bench Bryan Byrne and Ryan Baird are set to make their respective Pro14 bows this season.

Zebre, under the coaching baton of Michael Bradley, can call upon 10 of the Italian international squad who were in Japan, six of whom are in the starting team.

There is a familiar face in the Zebre lineup in secondrow Mick Kearney, who joined the Italian club from Leinster during the summer. Ian Nagle, who also moved to the Italian club from Leinster, is ruled out through injury.

Over the coming weeks, the Ireland squad players will be reintroduced into the Leinster team, so for the younger generation, matches of this ilk are really important to continue to press claims for a place in the matchday 23.

Zebre won’t be as vulnerable as they have been in their first three matches this season given the glut of returning internationals and as Leinster discovered in a narrow victory against Benetton on the opening weekend of the league season, this could be a sticky test but one that they should negotiate nevertheless.

Zebre: M Biondelli; E Padovani, G Bisegni, E Lucchin, M Bellini; C Canna, D Renton; D Fischetti, M Manfredi, G Zilocchi; M Kearney, G Biagi; G Licata, J Meyer, D Sisi.

Replacements: O Fabiani, D Rimpelli, A Tarus, L Krumov , R Giammarioli, M Violi, T Boni, J Elliott.

Leinster: H Keenan; A Byrne, R O’Loughlin, J Tomane, C Kelleher; R Byrne, J Gibson-Park; P Dooley, J Tracy, M Bent; R Molony, S Fardy (capt); J Murphy, S Penny, M Deegan.

Replacements: B Byrne, M Milne, V Abdaladze, R Baird, C Doris, H O’Sullivan, H Byrne, J O’Brien.

Referee: C Evans (Wales)

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.