Harry Byrne named at outhalf in first Leinster start
20-year-old younger brother of Ross Byrne named in the No 10 shirt to take on the Dragons
James Lowe: with him and Dave Kearney on the wings, Leinster have great work horses and go-forward players out wide. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Leinster v Dragons, RDS, Friday, 7.35pm - Live on Eir Sport
An aside. James Lowe was asked about Ireland v New Zealand this week. He picked at his arm and answered. “We’ll I was out buying a new washing machine...”
If he gets a call-up next year from Andy Farrell he’ll brighten the scenery, that’s for sure. With him and Dave Kearney on the wings Leinster have great work horses and go-forward players out wide, both crowd favourites.
Eyes will also turn towards Ross Byrne’s younger brother, Harry, who makes his first start at outhalf. Harry is 20, Ross 24. Interesting table talk there.
Ciarán Frawley is also in line to make his first competitive appearance of the season.
There is also a first start for Academy lock Ryan Baird and centre Conor O’Brien, with Rory O’Loughlin continuing in the number 13 jersey beside him. Jamison Gibson-Park is again selected at scrumhalf.
Devin Toner will captain the side for the second time on his 235th appearance, while in the pack Peter Dooley and Michael Bent are again the starting props, with recent hat-trick hooker Rónan Kelleher the middle.
It is probably said every week in the absences of the internationals, but Leinster have very good backrow players. Max Deegan, Scott Penny and Caelan Doris are this week’s trio, and there’s nothing not to like there.
Leinster struggled in Italy last week but got it over the line. They remain four wins from four, with Dragons two wins from four.
LEINSTER: J O’Brien; D Kearney, R O’Loughlin, C O’Brien, J Lowe; H Byrne, J Gibson-Park; P Dooley, R Kelleher, M Bent; D Toner (capt), R Baird; M Deegan, S Penny, C Doris.
Replacements: J Tracy, M Milne, J Aungier, R Molony, W Connors, H O’Sullivan, C Frawley, C Kelleher.
DRAGONS: J Williams; O Jenkins, A Warren, C Edwards, A Hewitt; S Davies, R Williams (capt); B Harris, R Hibbard, L Brown; J Davies, M Screech; H Keddie, O Griffiths, T Basham.
Replacements: E Shipp, J Reynolds, L Fairbrother, M Williams, H Taylor, L Baldwin, Al Robson, T Morgan.
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy).
Verdict: Leinster win.