Conor O’Brien starts in Leinster team to host Zebre
Gavin Mullin is among the replacements and in line to follow in his father’s footsteps
Conor O’Brien gets his chance for Leinster this weekend. Photograph: Inpho
Devin Toner will captain Leinster for the first time against Zebre in Saturday’s Pro14 clash in the RDS (Kick off at2.00pm).
It is the first time that the Meath native will lead his home province on the occasion of his 213th cap. Elsewhere Barry Daly starts at fullback with Adam Byrne on the right wing and James Lowe on the left.
Academy back Conor O’Brien starts alongside Rory O’Loughlin in the centre. It’s the second start of a breakthrough season for Mullingar man O’Brien and his first start at the RDS.
In the half backs Jamison Gibson-Park is joined by Ross Byrne.
Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong are the starting props this week with James Tracy getting the nod at hooker.
Toner captains the side from secondrow alongside Mick Kearney.
In the backrow Josh Murphy, who started at number eight for the Leinster ‘A’ side last weekend starts at blindside, with Dan Leavy at openside and Max Deegan (who made his European debut last Sunday) starting at number eight.
On the bench Gavin Mullin is in line to make his debut should he be introduced. The 20 year-old academy back is a son of Leinster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions player Brendan, who won 56 caps for Ireland.
LEINSTER: Barry Daly; Adam Byrne, Rory O’Loughlin, Conor O’Brien, James Lowe; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Cian Healy, James Tracy, Tadhg Furlong; Devin Toner (capt), Mick Kearney; Josh Murphy, Dan Leavy, Max Deegan.
Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Peter Dooley, Vakh Abdaladze, Ross Molon, Peadar Timmins, Nick McCarthy, Ciarán Frawley, Gavin Mullin.
Referee: Ian Davies (WRU)