Sean O’Brien and Jordan Larmour return to Leinster team

Luke McGrath remains a doubt for next weekend’s Champions Cup semi-final

 Sean O’Brien is back in the Leinster team. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Sean O’Brien is back in the Leinster team. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

 

Sean O’Brien and Jordan Larmour are back in the Leinster team to take on Benetton Treviso on Saturday night at the RDS (kick off 7.35pm).

Head coach Leo Cullen is hoping to cement his side’s place at the top of Conference B of the Pro14. With two games remaining in Pro14 they have a four point cushion over nearest rivals the Scarlets, with a home semi-final the prize for the team that finishes top after 21 rounds.

The return from injury of O’Brien and Larmour is a major boost ahead of next weekend’s Champions Cup semi-final, however Luke McGrath faces a race to be fit to feature at the Aviva stadium .

The scrumhalf damaged an ankle in the victory over Saracens and hasn’t played since. Cullen said: “He’s making steady progress. He hasn’t been reintegrated into rugby training yet but hopefully (will at) the start of next week. We’ll see how he is, he hasn’t been on the pitch as of yet so he’s touch and go for next week.”

Cullen also confirmed that Jack Conan (knee) and Rhys Ruddock (hamstring) were expected to train next week.

Jack McGrath will captain the side on Saturday from loose head, with Richardt Strauss at hooker and Andrew Porter selected at tight head. Behind them Ross Molony and Ian Nagle are the secondrow combination.

In the back row there is a welcome return for O’Brien from a shoulder injury picked up last month. Joining him is Jordi Murphy and Max Deegan.

In the backs Larmour makes his first appearance for Leinster since appearing off the bench for Ireland in the Grand Slam decider against England in March. The former St Andrew’s man has recovered from a calf injury and makes his 17th appearance of the season from fullback.

Fergus McFadden and Barry Daly occupy the right and left wings with Noel Reid and Rory O’Loughlin the centre combination.

In the halfbacks Jamison Gibson-Park is joined by Joey Carbery for his first start of the season at number 10.

This is Leinster’s last Pro14 home game of the regular season.

LEINSTER: Jordan Larmour; Fergus McFadden, Rory O’Loughlin, Noel Reid, Barry Daly; Joey Carbery, Jamison Gibson-Park; Jack McGrath (Capt), Richardt Strauss, Andrew Porter; Ross Molony, Ian Nagle; Jordi Murphy, Seán O’Brien, Max Deegan.

Replacements: James Tracy, Ed Byrne, Michael Bent, Mick Kearney, Peadar Timmins, Nick McCarthy, Ross Byrne, Adam Byrne.

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