Leinster young guns eager to grasp their opportunity in South Africa
Experienced Fardy and Leavy also included in the starting XV against Southern Kings
Ed Byrne: “Especially on the loosehead side of things it’s very competitive, so everyone’s hungry for game time and wanting to make the most of it when they get it.” Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
Southern Kings v Leinster, Madibaz Stadium (12.45, Sunday, Irish time, live on Eir Sport, Premier Sports)
Ed Byrne knows that these are the weeks when the younger players are handed opportunities.
In the absence of Cian Healy and Jack McGrath he’s been handed the number one jersey, one of several squad players that share similar circumstances, all keen to make a positive impression.
He explained: “Especially on the loosehead side of things it’s very competitive, so everyone’s hungry for game time and wanting to make the most of it when they get it. This month is something we look forward to.”
There are seven changes to the side that hammered Benetton 31-3 last weekend but it is a couple that remain from the starting team that will commandeer the headlines.
Scott Fardy’s captains Leinster for the first time in a competitive match while Dan Leavy has been released by the national squad to accumulate game time following his calf injury. He played in Italy last weekend.
Conor O’Brien is promoted to the starting team following his try-scoring cameo as a replacement last week, while Dave Kearney and Noel Reid come into the backline. Ed Byrne, Michael Bent, Ross Molony and Josh Murphy are all introduced to the run-on team.
On the bench, Clontarf tighthead prop Vakh Abdaladze, Skerries-born outhalf Ciarán Frawley, who has recovered from a wrist injury and Lansdowne and Ireland Sevens centre Tom Daly are all in line to make their first competitive appearances of the season for the senior side. Indeed all eight replacements were part of the Celtic Cup final winning squad.
SOUTHERN KINGS: M Banda; M Makase, H Klassen, T Kruger, Y Penxe; M Du Toi, S Ungerer; S Ferreira, A Van Rooyen, J Forwood; S Greeff, J-C Astle (capt); S De Wit, M Burger, R Lerm. Replacements: T Balekile, L Mguca, N Oosthuizen, D Van Schalkwyk, CJ Velleman, G Masimla, B Klassen, M Rokoua.
LEINSTER: D Kearney; A Byrne, R O’Loughlin, C O’Brien, J Tomane; N Reid, J Gibson-Park; E Byrne, J Tracy, M Bent; R Molony, S Fardy (capt); J Murphy, D Leavy, M Deegan. Replacements: B Byrne, P Dooley, V Abdaladze, M Kearney, C Doris, H O’Sullivan, C Frawley, T Daly.
Referee: L Linton (Scotland)