Leo Cullen makes 10 changes for Newcastle Falcons friendly

Scott Fardy returns to lead Leinster against English Premiership side at Donnybrook

Scott Fardy will lead Leinster against Newcastle. Photograph:  Patrick O’Connor/Inpho

Scott Fardy will lead Leinster against Newcastle. Photograph: Patrick O’Connor/Inpho

 

Leinster v Newcastle Falcons, Friday August 17th, Donnybrook (7.0pm ko)

Scott Fardy will captain Leinster in Friday night’s friendly against the Premiership’s Newcastle Falcons at Donnybrook.

Fardy is one of 10 new faces in Leo Cullen’s starting XV from last week’s 18-17 win over US Montauban at Stade Sapiac.

The Australian is joined by Mick Kearney in the secondrow, with Michael Bent, Ed Byrne and James Tracy completing the tight five.

Josh Murphy continues at blindside, with Will Connors and Caelin Doris at seven and eight respectively.

Jamison Gibson-Park starts at nine with Ciarán Frawley taking the number 10 jersey, while Rory O’Loughlin and Joe Tomane are retained in midfield.

Dave Kearney, who made his return from injury against Montauban, starts at fullback, with Barry Daly and Hugo Keenan on the wings.

Ahead of the fixture, Leo Cullen said: “Newcastle are a team that are very well-coached. They did incredibly well last year if you think they wouldn’t be one of the well-budgeted teams in comparison to some of their Premiership rivals, but they managed to finish fourth last year and make the semi-finals.

“They’re very well-coached, a very well-organised team. They’re used to playing on this artificial surface as well, which is part of the terms of choosing that type of team to play in pre-season. Hopefully, we’ll get a lot out of that as well and the guys can build on what they’ve done over the previous week and get a bit better.

“We won’t have a game the week before the season starts and then we’ll be playing on an artificial surface first up away against Cardiff as well. The guys are working hard and it’s another great opportunity for the team that plays on Friday against Newcastle.”

Tickets for the game will be available on the gate at Donnybrook from 5.30pm on Friday (€10/5).

Leinster: Dave Kearney, Hugo Keenan, Rory O’Loughlin, Joe Tomane, Barry Daly, Ciarán Frawley, Jamison Gibson-Park; Ed Byrne, James Tracy, Michael Bent, Scott Fardy (c), Mick Kearney, Josh Murphy, Will Connors, Caelan Doris. Replacements: Peter Dooley, Bryan Byrne, Vakh Abdaladze, Ross Molony, Ian Nagle, Max Deegan, Luke McGrath, Jimmy O’Brien, James Lowe, Tom Daly, Adam Byrne.

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