Leinster likely winners in tough examination

Rob Kearney and captain Isa Nacewa to provide experience in youthful backline

Dragons v Leinster, Rodney Parade (3.15, live on Sky Sports)

James Ryan will emulate Brian O'Driscoll if he is called from the bench in Wales in that both will have played for Ireland before making a first appearance in the blue of Leinster on an afternoon when 20-year-old Jordan Larmour and Australian international Scott Fardy also play their first competitive matches for the province.

Larmour is named on the left wing, while Fardy partners Devin Toner in the secondrow. There is an abundance of pace and ability in the a backrow comprising of Dan Leavy, Josh Van der Flier and Max Deegan.

Jordi Murphy was due to start but picked up a knock to his knee. His place went to van der Flier, with Jack Conan coming into the replacements. Rob Kearney and captain Isa Nacewa will provide the experience in a youthful backline.


Former Leinster and Ireland hooker and new Dragons coach Bernard Jackman has named a team that includes a familiar face to the visitors in Zane Kirchner, who has swapped the RDS for Rodney Parade.

Leinster's record at the venue, with the exception of last season, isn't that good, and as a match it always represents a tough physical and mental examination for any young players. The visitors should win, but whatever the outcome Leinster coach Leo Cullen will know more about this group in the aftermath.

DRAGONS: Z Kirchner: A Hewitt, T Morgan, J Dixon, H Amos; G Henson, C Davies; B Harris, E Dee, L Brown; M Screech, C Hill (capt); J Thomas, J Benjamin, H Keddie. Replacements: R Buckley, L Garrett, L Fairbrother, R Landman, M Williams, T Knoyle, A O'Brien, J Rosser.

LEINSTER: R Kearney; A Byrne, R O'Loughlin, I Nacewa (capt), J Larmour; R Byrne, J Gibson Park; C Healy, S Cronin, M Bent; D Toner, S Fardy; D Leavy, J van der Flier, M Deegan. Replacements: J Tracy, E Byrne, A Porter, J Ryan, J Conan, N McCarthy, C Marsh, B Daly.

Referee: M Adamson (Scotland)

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer