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PRO12 teams: O'Connor changes seven
18 Dec 2014 16:04
Leinster coach Matt O'Connor has made seven changes to his team to face Connacht at the RDS on Friday in the PRO12.
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Two of the changes are in the backs with Dave Kearney back from injury to take his place on the left wing, with Zane Kirchner on the right, and Dave's brother Rob again selected in the fullback slot. The other change is in the centre with Noel Reid coming in to partner Luke Fitzgerald. The halfbacks remain the same with Isaac Boss and Jimmy Gopperth selected at nine and ten. There are five changes in the pack with a completely new front row of Michael Bent, Aaron Dundon and Tadhg Furlong selected.
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It is as you were in the second row with Devin Toner and Kane Douglas in the engine room, while there are two changes in the back row.
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Shane Jennings returns from injury to win his 201st Leinster cap, while Kevin McLaughlin starts at blindside flanker. Jamie Heaslip captains the side from eight.
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On the bench, Maks Van Dyke is in line to make his first appearance for Leinster having signed last week on a short-term contract. Leinster team v Connacht: 15. Rob Kearney, 14. Zane Kirchner, 13. Luke Fitzgerald, 12. Noel Reid, 11. Dave Kearney, 10. Jimmy Gopperth, 9. Isaac Boss, 1. Michael Bent, 2. Aaron Dundon, 3. Tahdg Furlong, 4. Devin Toner, 5. Kane Douglas, 6. Kevin McLaughlin, 7. Shane Jennings, 8. Jamie Heaslip (captain). Replacements: 16. Sean Cronin, 17. Jack McGrath, 18. Maks Van Dyk, 19. Jack Conan, 20. Jordi Murphy, 21. Luke McGrath, 22. Cathal Marsh, 23. Gordon D'Arcy.
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Connacht boss Pat Lam has made 14 changes for the trip to Dublin. Lock Aly Muldowney is the sole player remaining from the starting XV that defeated Bayonne 29-27 in France last weekend.
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Centre Robbie Henshaw returns to action following his involvement for Ireland in the November Series. The 21-year-old international is partnered by Bundee Aki, who starts in his preferred position of inside centre for the first time.
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Mils Muliaina is named at fullback in a back three with Danie Poolman and Matt Healy.
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Jack Carty is handed the reins at outhalf for his first game at the RDS, while Ireland's Kieran Marmion, who scored Connacht's try at the Dublin venue last year, resumes duties at scrumhalf.
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Up front, John Muldoon will captain the side from a back row featuring Eoin McKeon and George Naoupu.
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On-loan lock Quinn Roux partners Muldowney in the second row behind the front row trio of Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney and Rodney Ah You.
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The most notable inclusion on the bench is academy forward Ultan Dillane.
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Following a string of impressive performances for the Connacht Eagles, the 21-year-old lock from Tralee could make his Connacht debut tomorrow night.
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With the injury to Ian Porter and unavailability of John Cooney, last week's double try scorer Caolin Blade has also been named amongst the replacements.
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Connacht team v Leinster: 15. Mils Muliaina, 14. Danie Poolman, 13. Robbie Henshaw, 12. Bundee Aki, 11. Matt Healy, 10. Jack Carty, 9. Kieran Marmion, 1. Denis Buckley, 2. Tom McCartney, 3. Rodney Ah You, 4. Quinn Roux, 5. Aly Muldowney, 6. John Muldoon (captain), 7. Eoin McKeon, 8. George Naoupu
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Replacements: 16. Dave Heffernan, 17. Ronan Loughney, 18. Finlay Bealham, 19. Ultan Dillane, 20. Willie Faloon, 21. Caolin Blade, 22. Craig Ronaldson, 23. Darragh Leader.
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