/ Rugby

Berne handed first Leinster start

Updated: Friday, 04 Sep 2009 14:39

Leo Cullen will captain Leinster
Leo Cullen will captain Leinster

Shaun Berne will make his competitive debut for Leinster when they face the Scarlets in Saturday's Magners League clash at Parc y Scarlets, kick-off 7.30pm.

Berne will partner Fergus McFadden at centre for the trip to Llanelli. Chris Keane and Jonathan Sexton form the half-back partnership, with Ireland internationals Shane Horgan and Girvan Dempsey starting at right wing and full-back respectively with Isa Nacewa continuing on the left wing.

The team is led once more by Leo Cullen. He will be joined by Leinster's most capped player Malcolm O'Kelly, who is making appearance number 167.

Kevin McLaughlin starts in a back-row unit which includes Shane Jennings and Stephen Keogh.

Mike Ross is named on the replacements bench, amongst four recent Leinster Academy graduates.

A decision on replacement hooker will be made closer to kick off.

Cullen is determined to get off to a strong start on his 118th time in the Leinster shirt:

‘Our form in the earlier rounds last year wasn't as consistent as we would have liked and it ultimately cost us. We're determined to push on and the Scarlets will be dangerous opponents.

‘They're a great club with great traditions and we know that we will need to face up to the passion and skill levels that they will bring to the game.

‘We were lucky to win both of our games against them last year, but this is a fresh start and we're expecting another tough test.’

Leinster team to play the Scarlets on Saturday, 5 September at Parc y Scarlets, kick-off 7.30pm:

Girvan Dempsey, Shane Horgan, Fergus McFadden, Shaun Berne, Isa Nacewa, Jonathan Sexton, Chris Keane.

Cian Healy, John Fogarty, Stan Wright, Leo Cullen, Malcolm O'Kelly, Kevin McLaughlin, Shane Jennings, Stephen Keogh.

Replacements: Bernard Jackman/Jason Harris-Wright, Mike Ross, Devin Toner, Sean O'Brien, Paul O'Donohoe, Simon Keogh, Niall Morris.

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